Construction and design defects are often found in both residential and commercial projects after a project’s completion. When these defects are discovered, owners may threaten their contractor with a lawsuit. However, owners must follow certain procedures before they can file a lawsuit for damages. Likewise, contractors that are allegedly liable for defects have legal options and rights. Construction defect law in Florida covers the procedures, rights, and responsibilities of all parties and can be found in the Florida Statutes, Chapter 558.
Chapter 558: Florida Defect Statute
Chapter 558 governs the specifics of resolving construction and design defects found in commercial and residential projects, unless parties have opted out of the requirements. The statute allows parties to cure defects before seeking a lawsuit by setting forth requirements for notifying responsible parties of defects.
Notice of Claim
Owners are responsible for sending the Notice of Claim to the potentially responsible party which may include contractors, subcontractors, developers, suppliers, or design professionals. The Notice of Claim describes in great detail the defect and its location and gives them the opportunity to request either a repair or payment for the defect. The alleged responsible party is given the opportunity to inspect the defect and provide a response to either pay for or correct the defect as well as the opportunity to dispute the validity of the defect claim.
Have You Received a Notice of Claim?
If you receive a notice you have the right to cure or settle the claim to avoid litigation. You must meet statutory deadlines for responding to the claim. You should also contact your insurance company to ensure you can secure coverage for the claim. You have the right to retain an attorney, inspect the site, request project records, and request destructive testing of the site. You may also provide a secondary notice to those parties who may be responsible to you, which requires them to respond to you about the alleged defects.
Seek Counsel from a Florida Construction Defect Attorney
Chapter 558 has undergone several changes, and since construction defects can be costly, it is absolutely necessary to retain the services of a Florida construction defect attorney when a defect claim is brought against you. Defects are often discovered after a project has been completed, so it is wise to ensure that you have an ironclad construction contract from the onset. The contract will determine in advance how defects will be mitigated. Defects involving structural failure, personal injury, or death are even more complex and require the counsel of a law firm that is experienced with dealing with a variety of defect cases.
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.