Contractor Negligence Claims

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Contractor Negligence Claims

Contractor negligence cases are more common than you might think. Contractors have a duty of care that they have to provide to those who come to them for services. This means that when a company or contractor for hire agrees to tackle a build of any kind, they need to comply with the industry standard for the services that they provide.

When there are problems with the quality of the work that is done, or there are issues with the build that cause the final product to be outside of the requirements of the building code, you will need to file a contractor negligence claim. The team at Lopez Law has years of experience working on contractor negligence claims. Helping our clients to seek a favorable outcome for these kinds of cases is one of our key areas of focus.

What Are the Elements of Negligence?

Negligence is an action that is involved in tort law. Tort law is not the same as contract law, and the two kinds of claims can be related but are unique. This means that you will need to be able to prove that your contractor acted with negligence when overseeing the project in question. This means that certain elements must be present and must be easy to prove related to the case. The elements that must be present for a case to be considered contractor negligence are:

  1.       The defendant must owe the plaintiff a legal duty
  2.       The defendant breached that duty
  3.       The plaintiff suffered injury or financial loss as a result of the breach
  4.       The injury caused damage

Negligence claims cannot be brought if the only injury in question is that the contract itself was breached. There has to be an actual physical problem with the building for a negligence claim to be made. While the acts that led to the defect in the construction project or an injury might also lead to a breach of contract, the negligence portion of the claim cannot exist solely based on contractual actions that were not met.

 It can be confusing for homeowners to sort out when negligence was part of the foundation of a construction defect claim. This is one of the reasons that securing a skilled legal professional’s help can be so essential. Working with the team at Lopez Law will ensure that you are able to get access to the support that you need to make sure that you do not have to accept the faulty work of a contractor.

Contractor Negligence Claims

Proving Non-Contractual Duty

Since negligence claims cannot be filed solely based on breach of contract, non-contractual duty has to be proven in these cases. Negligence claims can only succeed when there is proof that a breach of non-contractual duty happened. These duties are not related to the contract and are instead duties that are prescribed by statutes and ordinances, as well as common law.

Contractors all have a duty to comply with building codes. If there are issues related to following the building code during your construction project, this is a clear example of non-contractual duties that were not performed during the project. These kinds of items should not have to be written into the contract itself since they are duties that it is assumed contractors will always follow.

While it can be hard to prove some other kinds of negligence related to non-contractual duties, being unwilling or unable to follow code is usually a very simple matter to attend to during a case. Lawyers with experience in this area of Florida law will be able to cite the Florida building codes and requirements for the industry standard that is to be maintained during any job. These basic standards of care should never be neglected during any job that a contractor takes on. When these simple and basic standards are not met, it is typically quite simple to present this evidence in a court of law or during the claims process.

Why Are Contractor Negligence Claims so Common?

Contractor negligence claims are more common than you might think. This is partially because contractors working in a sub-tropical environment like the one in Florida might not always remember the necessary moisture-proofing standards for a remodel or construction project. It is also quite common for contractors to have a lot of different jobs that they are managing and to be away from each unique job for days at a time.

Another complication in the state of Florida that is not usually an issue in other states is the risk of tropical storms. Hurricanes and other kinds of tropical season weather can be quite common in Florida. This means that even homes or building projects that are partially completed need to be properly protected from damage that could occur during the storm season.

When contractors do not exercise the necessary care related to these considerations, damage, and other problems can be quite common during construction work. Poor construction, incorrect use of materials, and other kinds of issues are also more common than you might think. This can be due to the nature of a construction site where there are so many people doing individual jobs with limited supervision.

Who Else Has to Meet the Duty of Care at Construction Job?

Besides the contractor, there are other people working on construction jobs who need to meet the basic duty of care that is required for these jobs. The subcontractors, developers, project managers, surveyors, engineers, architects, and other workers on site all need to meet the basic duty of care that is required in this line of work.

At the end of the day, your contractor is supposed to be responsible for the actions of everyone on the job site. If they are not spending enough time overseeing the job or they are never present when the work is being done, these kinds of mistakes can happen. No matter who else is implicated in a negligence claim, the contractor will almost always be held responsible first and foremost. After all, you hired the contractor to manage the work that needs to be done on your property, and if they are not doing this part of the job correctly, mistakes might take place.

Negligence that can be traced back to your contractor can be:

  •         Lack of proper licensures for the project
  •         Lack of a plan or strategy to complete the job in a timely manner
  •         Failure to train or hire qualified staff to handle the job itself or specialized work that needs to be done to complete the project
  •         Failure to obtain permits
  •         Failure to supervise workers
  •         Communication issues that lead to project failure

Just as in the case of personal injury claims, there are often lots of details that can have an impact on the severity of the problem that you have experienced related to a negligence claim. Even if no one is physically hurt at the job site related to a contractor’s negligence, they are still required to complete the job they were hired to perform correctly.

Contractor Negligence Claims

What is Legal Duty?

One of the main turning points of most contractor negligence cases is a breach of legal duty. This legal duty is what a contractor owes to a client when they take on a job. This means that the contractor will take all the necessary actions to perform the project in the allotted time as agreed upon in your contract. They will also be sure that they are hiring qualified experts to handle specialty work, and they will train everyone who is on the job site to do other work that is necessary.

The legal duty of a contractor extends to nearly every aspect of a construction project. All the mistakes and other issues that can arise on a job come back to them in the end. This means that when a breach of legal duty has taken place, a contractor will almost always be found at fault. You might also be able to assign blame and culpability to other parties who worked on the job, but your contractor will never be let off the hook entirely.

The specific details of the case can vary significantly depending on how severe the breach of duty was. If someone was harmed, or the building is not up to code or is structurally unsound, this is a very obvious breach of legal duty. When there are smaller issues to do with the work and things like mold or failure of finishes are involved, it can be harder to prove a breach of care.

Working with a skilled legal team can make it much easier to secure the outcome that you have been looking for in your case. You can count on the lawyer at Lopez Law to carefully research your case and make sure that no details are left out that can show or prove negligence or a lack of care overall.

What Counts as Damage in These Claims?

Damage can actually encompass a wide array of considerations when it comes to construction negligence claims. Damages can be related to injuries that happened to someone working on the job or to you as the property owner. Damage can also refer to issues with the build not being up to code or problems with mold and mildew. It might also refer to things like structural faults or very serious things like a building collapse.

Because the term “damage” can mean so many things in this kind of case, you will want to defer to your attorney to help you establish the entire list of damages that might be related to contractor negligence on your property. There might only be one item, but in most cases, many kinds of damages are often linked together related to contractor negligence.

Damages can actually still be legally viable, even years after a construction job has been completed. This is because of the Slavin Rule, which is a reference to a specific historical case in Florida. This rule allows for mistakes related to contractor negligence to become part of a claim even if these issues or defects do not show up for some years after a construction project is completed.

Contractor Negligence Claims

What is Negligent Misrepresentation?

Another area of construction that can be linked with negligence is a misrepresentation of a job. Lying about the quality of materials that are used for the work or about the skill of the person who is completing the job can fall under this heading. Contractors who create a plan to finish a job and then do not follow it might also be guilty of misrepresentation of the work that they are doing.

All assertions or statements that are false related to a construction job can fall into this category. This is a much more subtle kind of negligence and will require a very experienced legal professional to help you with the case. There will need to be lots of investigation into these claims in most cases, but the team at Lopez Law is ready and willing to handle the preparation of this kind of claim.

Working With a Skilled Legal Team Matters

 If you have suffered a loss or damages related to contractor negligence, the team at Lopez Law can help. We have years of experience working on cases related to the construction industry, and we can help you to seek a favorable outcome in your case. We can help you to prepare and file your claim, and we can also work on the details of a settlement if necessary. We can also represent you in court if needed.

We have the years of experience that you need access to in order to hold a negligent contractor responsible for work that was done incorrectly on your property. We will take the time to fully investigate your case, and we will communicate with you during each stage of the claims process. You can count on us to tackle this kind of case with attention to detail. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get help with your contractor negligence claim today.

Related:

Hurricane Damage Claims in Florida

Hail or Roof Damage Claims in Florida

Flood Damage Claims in Florida

Contractor Negligence in Florida

Construction Defect Claims in Florida

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