If an earthquake happens tomorrow and you’re hurt because someone wasn’t prepared to take action in an emergency situation, can that person be held liable? What if that person is an entity like an educational department? In an interesting report about the recent Victoria earthquake, it’s discussed how failing to prepare buildings and structures for seismic activity could lead to lawsuits, especially when scientists have been predicting a major event for many years.
On Dec. 29, a 4.7 magnitude earthquake shook the area around Victoria. It’s expected that another earthquake could take place in the same area of the British Columbian coast in the next 50 years; there’s a one-in-10 chance that it will, according to the National Resources Canada seismologists. This time, the earthquake was relatively minor, but what if it had been of a stronger magnitude?
Those in British Columbia are told to prepare a 72-hour kit for emergencies because of the risk for a large earthquake. However, despite this, the schools in British Columbia aren’t prepared. After a seismic assessment was posted by the government, it was found that many schools were at high risk; that means that the buildings could collapse if an earthquake occurs. That could put children and teachers at risk.
Are these schools preparing? Some are, and some aren’t doing much at all. The problem is that because the warning is there, these facilities could, in retrospect, be considered negligent for putting these staff members and children at risk of injuries. If people were killed, it’s likely that wrongful-death lawsuits would shortly follow.
Source: The Globe and Mail, “Victoria earthquake an urgent wake-up call,” Benjamin Perrin, Jan. 08, 2016