Negligent construction cases can arise in many different ways, although the most common type of case deals with an improper foundation. An unsuitable foundation can lead to an array of problems, including cracking, structural defects, and even black mold.
In order to prove elements of liability against a contractor or sub-contractor, it will be necessary to hire a couple of experts: (1) an expert in the same field as the contractor, excavator, or foundation subcontractor should be hired to testify as to the applicable standard of care necessary in the industry, and (2) an engineer should be hired to discuss issues of soil tests, soil compaction, load capacity calculations, and load tests.
Soil tests and proper compaction
The most important pieces of evidence in proving negligent construction will often be related to the results of the soil test. The soil test will show the types of soil present, which leads to whether the soil was properly compacted. Proper compaction and testing of the compaction will be key in determining whether failures were directly related to the compaction. The defendant’s deposition testimony will allow you to determine what tests were performed, what steps were taken to properly compact the soil, and the calculations and testing that were performed to ensure that the foundation was ready for the load to be placed upon it in the construction phase. If any of these tests or calculations were not performed, it is evidence of negligence.
Claims: Negligence, Breach of Warranty, Breach of Contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, and defective trade practices
You should consider all potential causes of action against the defendants, keeping in mind that some potential causes of action could cause issues of coverage between the defendant and his insurer. Breach of contract claims may be necessary to preserve damages related to attorney’s fees and the costs of litigation, depending on state law.
Most states will have jury instructions very specific to these causes of action. The instructions related to damages will allow recovery of all necessary repairs if the damage was temporary. Most states will instruct juries in cases of permanent construction damage to determine the difference in fair market value before and after the occurrence. Ensure that the client has documented all possible expenses related to work to repair all defects, along with all resulting damages. A schedule of litigation costs, attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment/loss of income should also be calculated to maximize the amount of recovery.
For these reasons, it is necessary to consult with an skilled personal injury lawyer Little Rock AR counts on in negligent construction cases.
Thanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into negligent construction cases.