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Construction Defects in the United States

Construction accidents can be some of the most dangerous accidents that people experience. This is because they are happening on a site where construction work is being done, and there are often many other people around who may also be injured in an accident. The danger level for these types of accidents increases when scaffolding collapses or faulty wiring sparks a fire. Construction sites should always have safety precautions taken to ensure that all workers are safe from injury or death.

Construction Defects in the U.S.

A construction proceeding could be a due process within which a property or home-owner files a claim against a general contractor or alternative similar party for poor work quality or performance, property harm, or personal injury. However, these suits may be supported by a range of legal theories, betting on state laws, like negligence, breach of contract, and merchandise liability. Therefore, these cases are a unit referred to as construction defect claims or construction defect lawsuits in some jurisdictions.

Claimants must file a construction defect lawsuit within the time period specified by their state’s applicable statute of limitations. If a litigator wins a construction proceedings, he or she is also ready to recover some (or all) of the subsequent antagonistic damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Wage loss
  • Future loss of earnings
  • Damage to property
  • Suffering and pain

What is a Construction Defect Suit?

A plaintiff homeowner or real estate owner brings a construction case in which they sue a defendant contractor for poor workmanship, property damage, or personal injury. Plaintiffs may bring a construction dispute or legal action against, in addition to contractors:

  • Subcontractors
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • A building company
  • Manufacturers of construction equipment
  • Construction workers on their own
  • Governmental organizations (federal, state, or local)
  • Professionals in design
  • Any other party or member of the construction industry who may be held liable for poor workmanship

Typically, construction litigation is based on one of the following legal claims:

  • Negligence
  • Vicariously liable
  • Flaws in the product
  • Contract breach
  • Unjustified death

Negligence Claims

The majority of construction lawsuits are based on claims of negligence. Contractors, for example, are required to use materials on job sites that meet industry standards for construction projects. If they rely on subpar materials, they are in breach of their duty. Therefore, if this breach causes property damage or physical injuries, victims may file a contract defects claim against the contractors on the basis of negligence. Plaintiffs must establish the following elements in order to succeed with these claims:

  1. The contractor, defendant or other party had a duty of care to the plaintiff.
  2. The defendant breached that duty of care.
  3. The plaintiff was harmed due to the breach.
  4. These injuries resulted in monetary losses.

Vicarious Liability Claims

A vicarious liability claim occurs when an employer is held liable for the actions of one of its employees. Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that holds parties indirectly liable for an injury even if they did not cause it. In California, vicariously liable parties may be held legally liable for a plaintiff’s medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. This is significant because the “vicariously liable” person may have more assets and insurance coverage than the person who was directly negligent or reckless.

Defects in the Product

When defective materials or machines impede construction, plaintiffs can file a products liability lawsuit against the responsible parties. Among the potential defendants are the companies responsible for a design flaw, manufacturing flaw, and/or inadequate warning flaw. Plaintiffs must demonstrate a product was defective in some way, the plaintiff used the product as it was intended to be used, the product caused the plaintiff’s injuries, and the injuries resulted in monetary damages in order to succeed with these claims.

Contract Infringement

Construction contracts govern many construction projects. For example, a condominium owner and a contractor (with only a few years of experience) may enter into a contract in which the contractor agrees to remodel the owner’s kitchen by a certain date and to certain specifications. If the general contractor fails to follow the terms of the contract, and this failure causes the plaintiff to suffer damages, the plaintiff can file a breach of contract claim against the contractor. In the preceding example, the contractor may have violated the contract because construction delays prevented him/her from remodeling the kitchen by the contract’s deadline.

Unjust Death

When a construction accident kills someone, the victim’s family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. As a result, a victim’s family sues the person or entity responsible for his or her death. Damages of wrongful death may include:

  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Financial support provided by the victim has been lost.
  • The cost of services that the victim would have provided
  • Loss of companionship, assistance, and affection

Contact a Los Angeles Attorney

There are many accidents that happen on construction sites, some of which lead to death or disability. Construction defects occur when there is an error in the design or workmanship of a building, and these defects can cause serious injury if not corrected before use. If you or someone you know has been injured in a construction accident and would like to get compensation for their accident, give our office a call at 310.943.1171.

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