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Do Building Code Violations Cause Injuries?


Both in a technical sense and in a legal sense, building code violations can cause injuries. Code violations, such as unsafe floors and bad plumbing, often directly cause injuries. These violations could indirectly cause injuries as well. Code violations, even such things as unmowed grass, often create a criminal-friendly environment, a theory known as broken windows.

Legally, if a building code violation, or other safety law violation, substantially causes injury, the negligence per se doctrine might apply. Tortfeasors (negligent actors) who violate safety laws could be liable for damages as a matter of law, if that violation substantially caused injury. If a Seattle premises liability lawyer presents substantial evidence of damages in these cases, jurors often award substantial compensation.


Weak or unstable floors, poorly-lit outdoor common areas, and hazardous construction areas often cause falls. These incidents send over eight million Americans to hospital emergency rooms every year.

Head injuries and broken bones are common fall-related injuries. The human brain is a very small organ. It’s not much bigger than a coffee mug. So, when a victim has a major blow to the head, their brain violently slams against the insides of their skull. If significant enough, this impact can cause brain bleeding and swelling.

These injuries are difficult to diagnose. Since adrenaline masks pain, most of these victims tell their doctors they “feel fine.” By the time more advanced head injury symptoms appear, successful treatment is nearly impossible.

A violent fall can also cause broken bones. As a result, doctors might need to use metal rods, plates, and other parts to surgically reconstruct them. The additional intervention on the front end means a longer, more difficult, and more expensive recovery on the back end.

A Seattle personal injury lawyer can usually obtain maximum compensation in these cases, even if a pre-existing condition contributed to the risk and/or severity of injury. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.


Some of these conditions, mostly poorly-lit common areas, can contribute to third-party assaults, at least in a legal sense. Individuals are legally responsible for assaults. Landowners are financially responsible for damages in these cases, if the tortfeasor violated a building code provision and the assault was foreseeable.

Evidence of foreseeability usually includes similar incidents at that location, similar incidents in the area, the type of business, and the neighborhood’s crime rate.

A Seattle personal injury attorney must prove foreseeability by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.


Lead-lined pipes and asbestos insulation are the most common kinds of building code violation-related poisonings.

Lead, a cheap, durable, and malleable metal, was widely used in plumbing and other areas until about 1980. Over half of all structures were built before 1980. So, there’s a good chance they have lead-lined pipes.

Asbestos was widely used before 1980 as well. A single asbestos fiber could cause mesothelioma or another serious illness. Asbestos exposure illnesses have very long latency periods. So, by the time victims know they’re sick, their toxic exposure-related diseases are often practically untreatable.

Count on a Diligent King County Lawyer

Property owners must keep their buildings up to code. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Seattle, contact Emerald Law Group. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.

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