Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC


March 17, 2016

When an accident happens, to determine whether or not there is a premises liability case for those who are injured, it’s important to break things down and look at the root causes of the accident. Only by doing this can fault be determined in specific situations.

A popular example of this is the tragedy that happened at the Kansas City Hyatt-Regency Hotel back in the 1980s. There was a dance contest at the hotel, people grouped up to watch it from pedestrian walkways, and the walkway on the fourth floor collapsed. It then hit the one below it and they both fell all the way to the ground floor. Over 200 people were injured and 114 perished.

When looking for the root cause, what was found was that a longitudinal weld did not have the strength needed to support the walkway. That weld gave out as people stood on the walkway in groups, giving it more weight than usual, when people just walked across it. When the weld failed, a support rod from the walkway then tore through the box beam. That’s what made the walkway collapse, and the second one was destroyed by the impact with the first.

Root causes can go even further when establishing fault. There were clearly design issues with the walkways, and it was later discovered that project management errors made it so that these issues weren’t caught and the walkways were built in a flawed fashion. It was just a matter of time before they failed.

If you’ve been injured in a collapse or some other structural accident in Pennsylvania, this example shows why it’s so important to look at root causes to understand why accidents happen and who is at fault.

Source: Think Reliability, “Root Cause Analysis of the Hyatt Regency Disaster – Cautionary Tale About Assumptions,” accessed March 17, 2016