The events in Oakland made national headlines on December 2, 2016.
Now, the first set of wrongful death lawsuits has been filed in the case.
With 36 total deaths, and numerous injuries, associated with the incident, it is no surprise to Phoenix wrongful death attorneys that a suit has been filed against multiple parties for those deaths, injuries, and damages.
About the Ghost Ship Incident
On December 2, 2016, fire crews in Oakland, California responded to a warehouse fire at a mixed-use building known as the Ghost Ship.
This building was illegally converted into a mixed-use warehouse. That night, a dance party was being held in what is described as a labyrinth warehouse. The interior structure of the facility was confusing and almost maze-like. Because of that design, when the first broke out, victims were unable to escape.
Those attending the party on the second floor were trapped, and the roof eventually collapsed upon them, killing 36 people total, reports the LA Times.
The ages of the victims varied, but a vast majority of the victims were in their 20s. Most lived at the facility that was an artist venue and housing project.
The event was especially tragic, and now that the ash has settled, families that lost their loved ones are taking legal action against those responsible.
Filing a Premises Liability Claim
The basis of the lawsuit is a premise liability claim.
An owner, in Phoenix, Arizona as well as the rest of the country, is liable for any injuries suffered by visitors to their property, especially if they have dangerous conditions present and do not correct them.
In the incident report for the Ghost Ship tragedy, the building was far from meeting even the substandard building and safety code requirements. There were no permits, and there was an electrical fire the night before the incident. The local power company did not furnish the electricity. Instead, the Ghost Ship took power from a neighboring building using an extension cord with a hole in the wall.
CNN reported that the two sets of parents filing the initial lawsuits have claims against the owner and lessors of the property, but are also seeking damages from the fire department and other government agencies that knew about the building’s dangerous conditions and failed to do anything about it.
The lawsuits cite the unnecessary suffering that the victims endured, including being trapped in the fire and suffocating on ash and smoke.
The Owner’s Responsibility
Property owners, regardless if their property is illegal or not, are required by Arizona law to provide a safe premise for those that have a right to be on the property.
In the case of the Ghost Ship, while the premises were illegally converted, those that attended the dance party had a legal right to be there because they were invited to the event.
When a property owner is negligent in Phoenix and other cities in the country, it can lead to catastrophic injuries or death. Under Arizona’s premise liability laws, the owner, and other associated parties can be held liable for any damages or losses related to that negligence.
Claims Against Multiple Parties
The Ghost Ship case highlights how many parties could be held liable in a wrongful death or premise liability case.
These cases are incredibly complicated, which is why it is always best to consult with a Phoenix wrongful death attorney.
Often there is more than one party. Taking the Ghost Ship case, for example, the parties in the suit include:
- The owner of the building.
- A promoter that encouraged people to attend the dance.
- Two landlords of nearby properties that provided electricity to the Ghost Ship.
- Landlords of the Ghost Ship.
- A Wisconsin-based musician for promoting the event.
The families also allege that members of the Oakland Fire Department have attended events there, and they were more than aware of the dangers the building posed to the public. The city was also conscious of the numerous violations and safety hazards; therefore, they are named in the suit.
What a Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney Can Do
While the Ghost Ship tragedy happened in California, Phoenix and surrounding cities of Arizona are no strangers to dangerous conditions and wrongful deaths.
A negligent act (whether drunken driving or poor property conditions), leave loved ones to pick up the pieces.
A Phoenix wrongful death attorney can help restore as much as possible for loved ones enduring the loss of a family member.
After a wrongful death occurs, an attorney will investigate which parties are responsible, and hold all parties accountable for their negligence. This sends a clear message to the public that these actions are not tolerated, and if the negligence is severe enough, loved ones may receive punitive damages as well.
In a typical wrongful death case, family members may receive compensation for their loved one’s medical costs up until their death (for costs associated with the injury that caused their death), funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, loss of companionship, and their pain and suffering.
Contact a Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney Now – Call Tobler Law
For those that have lost loved ones in a tragic accident, whether motor vehicle, premises liability, or another cause, the Phoenix wrongful death attorneys at Tobler Law are here to advocate for their right to collect compensation.
Schedule a no obligation consultation with a Phoenix wrongful death attorney today by calling 480-898-9700 or request more information online.