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Construction Disputes: Construction Defect Litigation in Florida

Jan. 22, 2020

If you have ever been involved with a construction project, you have an intimate understanding of how easily problems between groups of individuals can become complex, messy, and even potentially hazardous in financial terms. A Subrogation lawyer with experience in the construction industry like Stephen Barker will be your best defense in while pursuing construction defect litigation in Florida.

First, many different parties have many different interests in the construction industry. You have the workers themselves, the companies who oversee the workers, and the people who contract these companies to do the building. With so many parties having their own interests to look out for, it makes sense that disputes may eventually happen. These disagreements and disputes can be triggered by a number of things, including:

  • Changes to contracts that aren’t properly warned for

  • Changes to contracts that were disallowed or unwanted

  • Work claim disputes

  • Unfair or unsafe working conditions

  • Budget changes

Communication is key in any construction project. As soon as that begins to deteriorate, it’s not uncommon to see problems related to the above areas or more begin to pop up. Unfortunately, as tensions begin to rise, it becomes increasingly difficult to reach an agreement without some form of mediation.

Proving Construction Defects in Florida

With many miles of coastline and a large number of vacation homes built near its shores, Florida is the site of frequent construction disputes. That state’s Construction Defect Statute (Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes) requires homeowners to follow a pre-suit procedure before suing a contractor for construction defects. This includes providing the contractor with notice and the opportunity to “cure” the defects. In some cases, the parties have agreed in writing that Chapter 588 doesn’t apply, but unless they opt out, they must comply with the statute before filing suit. Investigating construction defects may start with site inspections and destructive testing that takes place during the pre-suit procedure, while the contractors or other responsible parties are getting their insurers to pick up defense of the lawsuit.

To fix the harms caused by construction defects in your new building, you and your attorney will need to prove the defects, identifying which contractor is at fault for them. The culpable parties may include the general contractor, architect, subcontractors, and possibly suppliers. You may be able to assert negligence, breach of contract, and breach of express and implied and warranties against these parties. Depending on what your causes of action are, you will need to prove different facts.

Alleging Negligence in Florida

If you allege negligence in Florida, you will need to prove that the defendant had a duty of care, the defendant breached that duty, the breach caused an injury, and the injury resulted in actual damages. Negligence is the breach of a legal duty that is not contractual. Therefore, you would need to prove that a particular contractor or subcontractor breached a non-contractual legal duty, such as one prescribed by ordinance or statute. For example, a contractor has a duty to comply with a building code even if the code is not part of a contract. When a contractor renders services, he assumes a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care in offering those services even if he has no contract with the owner of the house.

For example, a plumbing subcontractor owes a duty to install plumbing in compliance with a duty of care that is sometimes defined by the industry’s standards. Your attorney will retain a plumbing expert to offer opinions on the construction and design standard of care. Once the standard is established by the expert, the expert will also testify on the issue of whether the defect constitutes a failure to meet the standard of care.

A breach of contract claim can only be brought against a party with whom you have a contract. It may be appropriate, for example, against the developer from whom you bought a condominium.

If you need to handle a construction dispute, you may need a helping hand. You’ll need all of the information and backup possible in order to defend your own position and protect your own interests. To read more about how you can accomplish those things during a construction dispute case, call Stephen Barker Law at , +15619104340 or (561) 910-4340 and we can help prepare you for the court case ahead.