Suing an engineering, construction or installation firm for defects in building design or construction can be a tough prospect if the work was finished long ago and/or was substantially complete and accepted by the owner prior to the injury.
This is true in many states. In Florida, for example, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in Slavin v. Kay in 1959 that once a purchaser accepts a building, it’s the purchaser who accepts any of the building’s defects for purposes of liability. But this is true only when the defects are patent. Latent defects aren’t covered, and in some cases, a contractor might still be liable to third parties for injuries caused by latent defects. Subsequent court opinions held latency is determined by whether the danger posed by that condition was open and obvious – not whether the physical condition itself was open and obvious.
What this means is if you are injured as a result of a defective building condition, most likely, the defendant to pursue will be the owner of that property/structure. It might also be worth exploring the management firm/maintenance company, if the problem was failure to ensure proper upkeep.