Who can be sued for construction defects?
Lawsuits over construction defects can be complicated. There are a number of individuals and entities involved throughout the process of erecting a building — architects, engineers, developers, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers.
Plaintiffs must determine which of these is responsible for the defect and require them to fix it and pay damages. Of course, defendants may disagree with that assessment and place the blame on someone else involved in the construction or renovation of a property.
There are multiple types of construction defect suits. The most common include negligence, breach of contract, breach of warranty, strict liability, negligent misrepresentation and fraud. Let’s look at a few of these.
Negligence: Those in the building professions have a duty of care to do everything possible to prevent injuries caused by construction defects. Those alleged to have failed in that duty can face negligence lawsuits. Even if a subcontractor was the negligent one, general contractors and developers who hired them could also face liability.
Breach of contract: These claims generally involve something more serious than a builder or developer not complying with every aspect of the building plans and specifications. Defendants required to pay damages in these cases generally have to compensate the plaintiffs for the reduced market value of the property.
Breach of warranty: This can involve an express warranty, which was included in the documentation between the homeowner and developer. It can also involve an implied warranty of habitability. It’s implied that a home was designed and built to be suitable to be sold for someone to live in.
When drafting or signing a contract with fellow construction professionals or property owners, it’s important to have an experienced New Jersey business contract attorney involved. This can help save you from litigation that can cost you financially and negatively impact your reputation.