Defective workmanship puts a structure’s occupants at risk and leads to a loss of value. Some defects are obvious, while others are not, only becoming obvious after several years.
Many construction defects stem from issues in design, materials, or workmanship. These result when contractors operate without adequate supervision, rush through tasks, or compromise quality to save time and costs.
Water intrusion is one of the most serious defects, such as subpar roofs, plumbing, doors, and windows. These leaks pose immediate risks like slip-and-fall accidents, and if undetected, they can lead to long-term damage such as wood rot, decay, mold, and mildew.
Deficiencies may also arise during the pre-construction phase, like inadequate analysis or site preparation, leaving structures in earthquake-prone areas or susceptible to collapsible soils and sinkholes.
However they happen, you do have legal options. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.
What The Law Says
Chapter 21, Article 11A, Section 5 of West Virginia’s Code states that before filing a lawsuit against a contractor, subcontractor, or other entity for defective workmanship, a property owner must provide them the opportunity to “cure” (repair) or pay for the defects. This letter detailing the defects must be delivered at least 90 days before the filing.
The property owner is not obliged to accept offers from anyone involved. However, the deadlines must be observed before the lawsuit can be filed in court.
Is It An Occurrence?
West Virginia law requires all contractors and subcontractors to have Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance during all construction projects. This insurance protects them against multiple types of claims and injuries including third-party property damage.
CGL policies usually consider problems to be “occurrences,” including accidents. But much will depend on the policy’s language. Sometimes the occurrence may not be covered by the policy.
Before 2013, homeowners had a difficult time getting relief when faced with defective workmanship. The courts considered these kinds of cases as “occurrences,” and they did not fit in the description of an “accident.” If occurrences were not covered by the CGL policy, homeowners had no recourse.
In 2013, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals decided Cherrington v. Erie Ins. Prop. & Cas. Co that led to a change in the law. Defective workmanship was an “occurrence,” the court decided, and the property damage caused by the defective workmanship should be covered under the defendant’s CGL policy.
Since then, several states have enacted laws mandating that Commercial General Liability (CGL) policies explicitly encompass property damage resulting from subcontractor faulty workmanship, prevailing over conflicting legal viewpoints.
Defective Workmanship Lawyer In Charleston, WV
Defective workmanship is a serious matter and can lead to eventual structural damage and possible hazards for occupants. Whether you see defective workmanship during construction or discover the defects after you take occupancy, 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 shoddy and defective workmanship cases. Contact Chad Love at The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 for a free consultation.