Statute of Limitations and Other Construction Litigation Defenses
April 16, 2015
Building a new home involves significant time and financial investment which goes into the design and creation process that must comply with existing building code and legal standards. Deficiencies and defects in the outcome of construction can have a negative impact on the value of a property and cause extensive damage that can be expensive to repair.
Under California law, construction defects are generally recoverable in a civil case for damages, but depending on the circumstances of the property injury, architects, builders, manufacturers of component parts, and contractors may not always be liable for damages to property.
California Law on Construction Defects
Under the Right to Repair Act, the failure of a builder to comply with standards mentioned in the law may give rise to the homeowner’s right to claim damages.
The legal standards cover various building issues such as:
- Water intrusion issues
- Structural issues
- Soil issues
- Fire protection issues
- Plumbing and sewer issues
- Electrical system issues
- Catch-all category of construction issues affecting other areas
Requirement for Recovery of Damages
In order to be liable for damages, the builder or contractor must have violated a functionality standard, which violation caused damage to the created or constructed product or other building components. Before a property owner files such claim, the builder has the right to repair the defect allegedly causing damage to the plaintiff’s property.
The homeowner must send a written demand to the builder for the latter to repair the mentioned defects. The right to file a legal action will arise when the builder does not comply with the law’s standard or if the repairs made are not adequate to correct the defect.
Damages that May Be Recovered
If found liable for damages, the defendant may be ordered to pay:
- The reasonable value of repairing defects
- Costs of removing and replacing any improper repair or construction by the builder
- Relocation and storage expenses
- Lost business income if the home is being used as a principal place of business
- Investigation costs for each violation
If you have received a notice of defect or are a defendant in a lawsuit for alleged construction defect, your construction defense attorney can assess your situation and prepare a solid defense strategy that may include:
- Unforeseen act of nature
- Ordinary wear and tear, alterations, misuse, abuse or neglect
- Homeowner’s own damage
- Statute of Limitations
- Valid release
- Partial correction of the claimed violation
The plaintiff has a limited period within which to file a claim, also known as the ‘statute of limitations’, beyond which the claim, regardless of validity, may no longer be enforced in court.
In Modesto, California, the attorneys at Arata Swingle & Van Egmond have over 6 decades of collective experience, defending clients against frivolous lawsuits for alleged construction defects. Call us today at (209) 522-2211 to speak to an attorney about your situation.