Damages Available in a Construction Defect Case
Legal Guidance for Homeowners in Alabama and Florida
Once you've proved that your new Gulf Coast home has construction defects, you may be wondering what damages or remedies are available to you. Florida's Construction Defect Statute (Chapter 558) is complex and confusing even to people within the construction industry. The damages available in a construction defect case depend on the parties responsible, their insurers, and the legal basis for the lawsuit. At Milam & Milam, our Alabama and Florida attorneys work hard to bring all responsible parties into the litigation so that our clients have a better prospect of securing a satisfactory settlement or a higher chance of collecting on a favorable judgment.
Damages Available When Your House Has Constructions Defects
If you live in Florida and are dealing with faulty home construction, it is important to consult legal counsel knowledgeable regarding the applicable laws in that state. For instance, it is critical to be aware that Florida's Construction Defect Statute requires homeowners to follow a pre-suit litigation procedure that provides the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional that you believe is responsible for the defects an opportunity to repair. The potential defendant has 45 days to reply to a written notice with either a written offer to repair, a written offer to settle with a monetary payment or a combination of repairs and payment, a written denial, or a written statement that monetary payment will be made if there is insurance available. In order to encourage settlement, the responsible parties are permitted to inspect the property, conduct destructive testing, and review documentation. You are allowed to make emergency repairs necessary to protect your welfare, safety, and health.
As a practical matter, most cases are not fully resolved during the pre-suit procedure and proceed to litigation. When negligence is claimed, the damages that are sought may include property damage, personal injury, and economic losses. If the only damages suffered in a Florida construction defect claim are economic, the "Economic Loss Rule" may apply. Economic losses are "disappointed economic expectations," including costs of repair or replacement of a defective product, diminution of value, or a loss of profits.
The Economic Loss Rule may apply when the parties have a contract with each other, and one party wants to recover damages for negligence or another tort arising out of the contract. The other main situation where it may be involved is when the defendant manufactures or distributes a defective product that damages itself but doesn't cause harm to any other property or a person. This rule won't apply, for example, if you sue a roofer with whom you had no contractual relationship for negligent construction of the roof. It doesn't bar tort recovery to repair the carpet and drywall because the roof leaks. It does apply if you have a contract with the contractor and are seeking damages for economic loss against the contractor.
It is not uncommon for a defendant construction company not to have collectable assets. In some cases, it may be necessary to sue individual officers and employees for tortious conduct in order to recover on a judgment. Florida also has a Homeowners Construction Recovery Fund, which is designed to compensate homeowners with uncollectable judgments against a contractor based on certain listed reasons.
Consult a Gulf Coast Construction Defect Attorney
When your new home has construction problems, they can affect your family's enjoyment of the home, cause health problems, and reduce the value of your property. At Milam & Milam, our lawyers use our 25 years of combined experience to help Gulf Coast homeowners pursue the damages available in construction litigation matters. We believe in using clear communication, ethical strategies, and cutting-edge technology. Our team works with knowledgeable and experienced construction experts to prove your case. Our office is located in Fairhope, Alabama on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. We serve clients in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Panama City, among other Alabama and Florida communities. Contact us by calling 251-928-0191 or request a consultation through our online form.