What do you do when, after settling a construction defect claim, you’re approached about a new defect? You may be thinking it’s impossible to be sued at this point, especially since you and the other party came to an agreement and signed a general release. You may want to think again. In today’s risky construction environment, it’s crucial you understand the importance of covering every base to prevent unwanted lawsuits. This is where enlisting the assistance of the legal counsel of a Brandon construction attorney who understands the importance of releasing latent defects.
The General Release
The general release is a legal document used to protect you from liability when performing work on a construction project. When you sign the release, you are in essence saying that in return for your services and receiving payment, you are released from liabilities whether known or unknown. By signing their signature, the other party is agreeing that they are releasing you from liabilities.
Releasing Latent Defects
Most contractors stop at the general release; however, as Brandon construction attorneys, we represent contractors with litigations as a result of latent defects—even after signing a general release. A latent defect is a type of construction defect that is hidden and may even go unnoticed for years; yet, it is still provable in court and can cause damage to your construction business. If a defect surfaces later, for example, the owner may decide to take you to court to prove it was the result of poor workmanship. This is why you should go the extra mile and have the other party agree to release latent defects in addition to signing the general release.
Why Language is Important
In legal matters, it’s all in the details. To eliminate or reduce the likelihood of a litigation, be sure your releases are clear and define what is being released. Ambiguous language should always be avoided. In support of this, Michael G. Tanner, of the Florida Bar, reminds those in the construction industry to make the objective of the release clear by ensuring that all of the language used reflects the claims that will be released as well as the intent of the parties involved.
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.