For many homeowners who discover defective workmanship, the damage is obvious. But many times a defect isn’t immediately visible, and only becomes evident long after the defects liability period ends. At this point, an owner may have potentially expensive problems repaired.
So who pays for the repair of something that should not have happened? Your homeowner’s insurance? Most have clauses that specifically exclude defective workmanship. Your rates could also greatly increase if you do.
Directly suing the contractor may yield similar results. But working with an attorney who understands defective workmanship and latent defects is your best option for pursuing a case.
When a contractor cuts corners that aren’t always evident at completion, the defects may take time to be seen. They can take the form of:
- Improperly installed doors and windows that later leak or allow drafts
- An incorrectly built roof that soon develops leaks
- A foundation that eventually sinks and leaves large cracks in walls due to under-strength concrete or other defective workmanship
- Faulty electrical wiring behind walls
- Problems such as termites or mold that are concealed within walls
- Beams that are of the required length and width but are still under-strength
- Substandard coatings
- Early deterioration of a component, such as a roof that begins to deteriorate five years (or less) after installation but should have lasted twenty or more years.
These are called “latent defects.” They exist at the time of construction but go undetected until months, and sometimes years, later. Usually, they appear long after a home or another structure is completed, occupied, and in use. In many cases, correcting these defects would bear a minimal cost at the time of construction, but are very costly later on.
Latent defects can also be the fault of a product manufacturer. While the property may have been constructed correctly, it’s also possible that a product used in the home’s construction was at fault.
Products such as:
- Electrical wiring and systems (i.e., thermostats, conduits)
- Roofing products
- Sprinkler systems
- Plumbing supplies, such as piping
- HVAC systems
- Appliances such as water heaters and boilers
These and other products used in the construction and/or remodeling of a home or other property that fail after construction are generally considered to be the fault of the manufacturer of that product.
Proving Your Claim
It’s not enough to have a latent defect—you also have to positively prove it to a judge and jury.
The first step is to contact a Charleston, WV attorney who specializes in defective workmanship cases and can guide you through the process. From the first step to settlement or a jury trial, an attorney can make sure that your case is handled properly.
In addition to working with an attorney, you may need to call in expert witnesses. This can include an individual or a company that specifically handles construction forensics to find out precisely what went wrong. This expert can examine all the evidence and pinpoint the defect, the cause, and the responsible party.
Defective Workmanship Lawyer In Charleston, WV
Latent defects don’t appear for months or years after completion. These can lead to eventual structural damage and possible hazards for occupants. Should you discover defects in your home that weren’t visible for a long time after you moved in, contact an attorney immediately to establish both liability and possible safety issues.
Work with a Charleston, WV lawyer who has the experience and understanding to help with latent defects and defective workmanship cases. Contact Chad Love at The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 for a free consultation.