Contractor Negligence Suspected in Cabell County, WV Building Collapse

The ongoing landslide in Cabell County, West Virginia, is a terrifying sight. Homes in its path hang precariously on the edge of the eroding hillside, their fates uncertain. A large big box store in Barboursville has already been consumed by the shifting earth, with other businesses facing imminent danger. Roadways are threatened, further disrupting an already traumatized community.

While the true cause is yet to be definitively determined, the scene of devastation raises disturbing questions about whether this disaster could have been averted with proper planning, engineering, and construction practices. Sadly, West Virginia has witnessed the disastrous consequences of negligence in building projects before.

Yeager Airport: A Painful Reminder

In 2015, a seemingly well-planned runway extension at Yeager Airport turned catastrophic when a massive landslide consumed the hillside. Houses were damaged or destroyed, and the lives of nearby residents were irrevocably altered. Bailey, Javins & Carter represented these victims. Through unrelenting tenacity, our firm secured an eight-figure settlement in this landmark contractor negligence case, holding those responsible for the flawed project to account.

While the Putnam County, WV hillside collapse might differ in scale, troubling similarities exist. In the years leading up to the Yeager Airport landslide, documented signs of instability raised concerns. Yet, contractors downplayed the danger, leading to a heartbreaking and destructive event. The same may be true with this most recent catastrophe.

Understanding Contractor Negligence: When Good Projects Go Bad

The complexity of construction means multiple opportunities for mistakes, omissions, and even willful disregard for safety. Here’s where things can go wrong:

  • Inadequate design: Structural or engineering flaws create hazards from the start.
  • Cutting corners with materials: Substandard materials compromise strength and longevity.
  • Shoddy workmanship: Incompetence or shortcuts undermine the whole project.
  • Safety violations: Ignoring regulations puts workers and the public at risk.
  • Mishandling subcontractors: Failing to manage subcontractors can create dangerous liability gaps.

The result? Financial loss, delays, property damage, and in the worst cases, injuries or loss of life.

Proving Negligence in Complex Construction Cases Gone Bad

The success of any legal action centers on demonstrating negligence. In construction cases, this isn’t a mere accusation, but a complex legal puzzle painstakingly assembled by skilled attorneys and experts.  Here is a deeper look at the investigative tactics used to uncover negligent practices:

  • Project History: Scrutiny of permits, blueprints, and change orders seeks patterns of questionable decisions. Blueprints should be the roadmap to safe, compliant construction. However, deviations, sudden cost-cutting measures, and disregard for required permits unveil where corners were cut, potentially compromising safety.
  • Engineering & Geotechnical Data: Soil analysis, drainage designs, and load calculations can reveal oversights. The ground itself holds clues. Did soil tests misrepresent conditions? Is the drainage system woefully inadequate to handle runoff, thus destabilizing the site? Were load calculations careless, putting stress on the area beyond its ability to withstand?
  • Material Analysis: Lab testing exposes inferior materials masked as safe and suitable. Unscrupulous contractors might swap approved materials for cheaper, weaker ones. Laboratory analysis pinpoints if building components don’t match what was documented, revealing deliberate fraud or inexcusable carelessness endangering the entire structure.
  • Eyewitnesses: Accounts from on-site workers and residents frequently provide clues about flawed practices. Workers may reveal to investigators the witnessing of safety violations, shortcuts, or concerns they were told to ignore. Residents might recall odd ground shifts, excessive noise, or unusual activity well before the collapse, pointing to early warning signs that were dismissed by those in charge.

It is important to note that legal teams like those at Bailey, Javins & Carter typically utilize various experts with specialized knowledge in these types of cases. This could include structural engineers, soil scientists, materials analysts, and more, providing invaluable insights that pinpoint specific failures and the root cause of contractor negligence.

The Cabell County Landslide: A Case in Motion

At this time, the cause of the current West Virginia hillside collapse remains under investigation. Allegations of contractor negligence are suspected but more information is yet to be uncovered. We at Bailey, Javins & Carter are actively monitoring developments in this rapidly evolving situation, and our thoughts and prayers go out to victims and their loved ones who have been harmed by this disastrous event. Our seasoned attorneys and investigators are poised to assess potential claims as more facts emerge.

Don’t Face This Fight Alone: Contact Bailey, Javins & Carter to Discuss Your Case

If you have suffered injury, property damage, or significant financial hardship due to suspected contractor negligence, you deserve experienced legal representation. The skilled legal team at Bailey, Javins & Carter stands ready to guide you through this complex legal process, fighting for the just compensation you deserve.

Reach out to us at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or message us online for a free, confidential consultation and case assessment.

We take all cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we win your case.