Proving a Construction Defect

Lawyers Protecting the Rights of Gulf Coast Homeowners

The Gulf Coast is hot and humid. This climate can magnify the problems associated with defective construction. Water can intrude through an improperly designed or constructed roof, balcony, window, sealant, or stucco. The water intrusion can create a climate for mold that is detrimental to the health of you and your family. Problems can also arise with structural integrity, framing, mechanical, plumbing, waterproofing, windows, roofing, and other elements of the building. At Milam & Milam, our attorneys retain experienced experts to prove construction defects in Gulf Coast homes and help you recover damages. Several of our lawyers have construction or engineering backgrounds, which can help us advise you and later explain technical aspects of these cases to a jury.

Proving Construction Defects in Florida

With many miles of coastline and a large number of vacation homes built near its shores, Florida is the site of frequent construction disputes. That state’s Construction Defect Statute (Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes) requires homeowners to follow a pre-suit procedure before suing a contractor for construction defects. This includes providing the contractor with notice and the opportunity to "cure" the defects. In some cases, the parties have agreed in writing that Chapter 588 doesn't apply, but unless they opt out, they must comply with the statute before filing suit. Investigating construction defects may start with site inspections and destructive testing that takes place during the pre-suit procedure, while the contractors or other responsible parties are getting their insurers to pick up defense of the lawsuit.

To fix the harms caused by construction defects in your new building, you and your attorney will need to prove the defects, identifying which contractor is at fault for them. The culpable parties may include the general contractor, architect, subcontractors, and possibly suppliers. You may be able to assert negligence, breach of contract, and breach of express and implied and warranties against these parties. Depending on what your causes of action are, you will need to prove different facts.

If you allege negligence in Florida, you will need to prove that the defendant had a duty of care, the defendant breached that duty, the breach caused an injury, and the injury resulted in actual damages. Negligence is the breach of a legal duty that is not contractual. Therefore, you would need to prove that a particular contractor or subcontractor breached a non-contractual legal duty, such as one prescribed by ordinance or statute. For example, a contractor has a duty to comply with a building code even if the code is not part of a contract. When a contractor renders services, he assumes a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care in offering those services even if he has no contract with the owner of the house.

For example, a plumbing subcontractor owes a duty to install plumbing in compliance with a duty of care that is sometimes defined by the industry's standards. Your attorney will retain a plumbing expert to offer opinions on the construction and design standard of care. Once the standard is established by the expert, the expert will also testify on the issue of whether the defect constitutes a failure to meet the standard of care.

A breach of contract claim can only be brought against a party with whom you have a contract. It may be appropriate, for example, against the developer from whom you bought a condominium.

Attorneys Skilled in Alabama and Florida Construction Litigation

At Milam & Milam, we use 25 years of combined experience to help Florida or Alabama homeowners prove defects in construction litigation. Our attorneys use clear communication, ethical strategies, and cutting-edge technology to advocate for you with insurers, mediators, and in the courtroom. Our office is located in Fairhope in Baldwin County, Alabama. We proudly represent homeowners in Panama City, Pensacola, and Birmingham, among other locations. Contact us by calling 251-928-0191 or request a consultation through our online form.