If there are any defects in a construction project, whether as a result of negligence or defective materials, then the resulting problems may range from minor personal injury to catastrophic damage and even deaths.
If you wish to pursue a claim as a result of construction defects, or if you need to defend a claim being made against you, then you need the services of an experienced construction defects attorney.
Construction defects can refer to issues with the design or workmanship involved in a project, or faults with the materials or systems used, which leads to some sort of failure in the building. This failure can be in a minor component of the building or a major structural issue.
Legal Definition of Construction Defect Litigation
Construction defect litigation is the legal process following defects in a construction project. Defects can be as a result of faulty or poor materials, design flaws, or poor standards and processes during construction. These defects can range from minor issues such as roofing problems to total structural collapse.
If you are a client who feels there are major defects, then effective legal representation is crucial to help pursue any claim. And if you are a developer or constructor facing construction defect litigation, then you need professional legal advice and representation to defend such a claim.
Michigan has extensive state laws covering all aspects of the construction industry.
What if You’re Accused of Construction Defect?
If you have been accused of a construction defect then you need a lawyer experienced in construction law and construction defect litigation. Your attorney looks at the areas in which you have been accused of being at fault. The most common construction defects include negligence in design or construction or defective materials.
To defend you against any claim of defects, they will closely examine several areas related to your construction project.
- An intensive review of all records and contracts. This can help identify if you are culpable or whether the documented evidence can help refute a plaintiff’s claims. These documents can include all contracts (including any revisions made), permits and licenses, invoices and purchasing orders, communications such as emails, and any on-site inspection reports.
- Expert testimony and affidavits. By seeking independent third-party testimony, your lawyer can show that you were not negligent or did not use defective materials. These independent experts can include engineers, surveyors, architects, or anyone whose professional opinion may have bearing on the case.
- If you have been accused of negligence, then the plaintiff and their legal team must prove your actions were in some way negligent. With the help of an experienced law firm, you can argue they are unable to prove any such claims.
- If any defect occurred as a result of failure to repair or maintain the building, then the plaintiff is required to provide notice to you before liability can be apportioned. If there was a failure to provide such notice, then your attorney can argue that this excludes or limits any ability to claim damages.
- Shared negligence. If you as the defendant are responsible for any defects listed in the claim, are you solely responsible? Your attorney can examine all relevant events and documents to see if any liability is shared with the plaintiff or with others.
How to Hire a Construction Defect Lawyer
When you need to hire a construction defect lawyer, you want to hire one who has extensive experience in construction law, and one who will build a good attorney client relationship with you.
Ideally, you want to find a law firm that has experience and knowledge across all areas of construction law, but also specialist knowledge relevant to the area your claim relates to. A law firm’s website should give information on the area of the law they specialize in. Most law firms also offer free initial consultations where you can ask more specific questions.
When construction defects occur, it is possible that thousands of dollars may be lost, severe injuries or death may transpire and multiple persons are involved in the matter.
Construction defect claims can be hugely complicated. Defects, and the effects caused by them, can occur in a small residential property or a large commercial building. But no matter the size of the building, there is still the same level of requirement to examine all relevant documents, collect any evidence pertaining to the case, and to interview potential witnesses. Of course, larger projects will likely involve far more paperwork, but the principal remains the same.
And where there has been personal injury or even death as a result of any defects, then there is also a need to access and examine all medical records associated with the case.
Construction Lawyer’s Knowledge
When you decide you need to hire a construction defects attorney, you need to know they have the knowledge to represent you efficiently. Do not be afraid to ask questions at the consultation. After all, this could be major litigation you are involved in, and you want to ensure your attorney has the capability to do the job properly.
Steps for Deciding on a Construction Defect Lawyer
Your first step in choosing a law firm should involve a visit to their website. Do they cover the areas of law that concern you? Do they specialize in particular areas of construction law or do they have all-round knowledge of the subject?
Once you have an idea of their competency, you can schedule an appointment to discuss your needs. At Michigan Premier Law, we offer this first meeting free, so make sure you have listed any questions you may have and are able to discuss all the circumstances openly.
The Construction Defect Lawyer
Another thing to consider is that it is not enough to just have knowledge of the relevant laws. You will want to ask them how much actual experience they have. How many similar cases have they fought? And, perhaps more importantly, in how many cases have they been successful?
Only when you are satisfied that the attorney has the knowledge and experience you need, should you then go ahead and engage their services.
A Final Thought
As with some other areas of the law, construction law can be complex and difficult for a layperson to understand. Michigan Premier Law has a deep understanding of the laws and the more technical aspects of the construction industry and can represent you diligently. We have represented clients from all levels of the construction process, from an individual property owner to a major developer.
Our construction specialist is a highly-skilled litigator and he holds a 5-Star rating on lawyer ranking service Avvo. If you are going to have any involvement in a construction defect suit, then schedule a complimentary initial appointment with us by calling (248) 688-0045.