There are several parties involved in the construction process of a building, including architects,
engineers, contractors, subcontractors and property owners. Typically, the contractor is responsible for injuries if the property owner didn’t know about the defect prior to the accident. On the other hand, the property owner could be fully or partially liable if they knew about or should have known about the hazard prior to the injury and failed to take adequate action to prevent injuries.
Structural defects are major errors in the design or construction of residential or commercial properties. The defects are serious enough to jeopardize the structural integrity of a building, such as the foundation, frame or roofing system. Aside from property damage, undetected structural defects can create hazardous living conditions and lead to accidents and injuries.
If your injuries are a result of structural defects in a building you occupied or visited, determining liability will require a careful examination of everyone involved in its construction and the property owner.
Who Can Be Liable for Structural Defects in Georgia?
An architect may be liable for a design flaw that causes people to trip or fall. An engineer may be at fault for approving a roof design or building materials that later lead to a collapse and injuries. If a property owner participates in decision-making regarding construction operations, he or she could be held liable for any subsequent defects and safety issues.
Whether the property owner is liable and to what degree depends on what they knew. If they hired someone who they knew wasn’t licensed or qualified in order to save money, they will be more likely to share liability.
What Role Does Indemnification Play in Determining Liability?
It’s not uncommon for all parties involved in the construction project to include indemnification clauses in the contracts they sign. These clauses allow for the passing of liability from one party to another. For instance, if a contract specifies that a general contractor indemnifies an engineer for liability, this means the general contractor will pay any damages
rendered against the engineer in a lawsuit.
Similarly, a general contractor may want to elude legal and financial consequences by passing the liability to the subcontractors. Since subcontractors are at the bottom of the chain, they frequently end up having to pay copious amounts of money in legal judgments pertaining to the parties above them, such as general contractors or engineers. To protect themselves from costly liability, subcontractors typically carry large contractor liability insurance policies to pay for damages in case of a lawsuit.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Determining who is responsible for the structural defects of your property is no easy task. Generally, the at-fault party will do whatever it takes to escape responsibility, leaving you burdened with having to prove their fault. This is why many people seek the legal expertise of a premises liability personal injury attorney.
Types of Legal Claims in a Structural Defect Case
Once you’ve determined the party responsible for injuries, you’ll need to file a legal claim. It’s important to know it will be entirely up to you and your attorney to prove your case. You’ll need to produce conclusive evidence proving the defendant’s actions (or inaction) resulted in structural defects which caused your injuries.
Depending on your unique circumstances, you can base your claim on one of the following:
• Breach of contract: A contractor failed to follow the requirements specified in the contract.
• Negligence: A subcontractor failed to use reasonable care, wasn’t licensed or was not qualified for the job.
• Strict liability: Liability is placed entirely on the general contractor without having to prove negligence. However, the plaintiff must prove the damage or injury that occurred was caused by a defect created by the general contractor.
• Fraud: A contractor made false statements about the quality of construction. For instance, saying they used high-quality roofing material when the material they used was actually a lower-cost alternative.
Have You Suffered Injuries from a Structural Defect in Georgia?
Are you looking for a trusted construction accident lawyer in Atlanta, Newnan or Lilburn? At the Law Office of Johnny Phillips, we have substantial experience in handling the most challenging cases.
If you’re looking to recover damages for your injuries, we’re here to help you get the compensation you deserve.
To request a free consultation, call 833-564-6693.