Jacksonville Construction Defect Lawyer
Construction defects can cost thousands of dollars to fix, and costs can be much greater if defective construction causes an injury. Contractors may be negligent, incompetent or simply greedy, or they may be honest and highly-qualified yet victim of an unscrupulous homeowner who doesn’t want to pay for work performed or is looking to pin the blame for property damage on someone other than him or herself. Jacksonville construction defect lawyer Daniel M. Copeland represents contracts, subcontractors, property owners and developers in construction defect litigation throughout northeast Florida. Learn more about construction defects below, and contact Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A. for help with your claim from an experienced Florida contractor, developer and construction lawyer.
Understanding Florida construction defect law
Back in 2003, the Florida legislature created Chapter 558 Florida Statutes covering construction defects. The stated purpose of the law was to cut down on construction defect litigation while still protecting the rights of property owners. A major requirement under this law is that before any construction defect lawsuit can be filed, the property owner must first provide a notice of the defect to the contractor. This notice is intended to give the contractor the opportunity to fix the problem, or for the insurance company to negotiate a settlement with the homeowner without involving litigation. A lawyer who is inexperienced in construction law or real property litigation may file a lawsuit without providing the required pre-suit notice, which actually increases the costs of litigation and draws out the time for any resolution of the problem.
Common Jacksonville construction defect claims
Contractors, subs or design professionals responsible for defective construction may be liable to the property owner for the diminished value of the property, the cost to repair the defect, compensation for loss of use, and any injuries suffered from a construction defect. Under Florida law, defective construction may be due to:
- Design errors
- Faulty workmanship
- Substandard materials
- Code violations
Construction defects may be patent or latent. Patent defects are obvious or discoverable in a reasonable inspection, while latent defects may remain hidden for years until significant damage has occurred. Whether a defect is patent or latent and when it was discovered or discoverable can be important factors in determining the source of defect and whether any claim is properly brought within the applicable statute of limitations. Below are just a handful of examples of problems that commonly lead to construction defect claims in Jacksonville:
- Structural defects
- Faulty wiring
- Leaky roofs
- Leakage at windows, sliding glass doors and shower enclosures
- Mold and moisture through floors or walls
- Cracking of concrete foundations, stucco or drywall
- Settlement, subsidence and drainage
- Ponding of water on decks and balconies
Jacksonville construction defect claims make up the bulk of our practice at Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A. Having built over 1,400 homes as a contractor and developer and having practiced construction law in Florida for more than 15 years, attorney Daniel M. Copeland is uniquely qualified to represent contractors and property owners in construction defect claims, settlements and litigation. Trust your Jacksonville construction defect dispute to a skilled, knowledgeable and experienced lawyer who is intimately familiar with the laws, facts and issues you are facing.
Notice of Defect Procedure Prior to Arbitration or Suit
This procedure applies only to claims for damages or loss of property by an alleged construction defect. The law requires that before filing an action, a claimant must serve written notice on the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional describing the claim in reasonable detail sufficient to determine the general nature of each alleged defect and a description of the damage or loss resulting from the defect, if known. The law suggests that the notice be served within 15 days of discovering the defect, but does not bar the filing of an action if served later. The notice must be served for each alleged construction defect, but multiple defects may be included in one notice.
In order for this procedure to be effective, the following Notice must be included in the construction contract:
Chapter 558 Notice of Claim
CHAPTER 558, FLORIDA STATUTES, CONTAINS IMPORTANT REQUIREMENTS YOU MUST FOLLOW BEFORE YOU MAY BRING ANY LEGAL ACTION FOR AN ALLEGED CONSTRUCTION DEFECT. SIXTY DAYS BEFORE YOU BRING ANY LEGAL ACTION, YOU MUST DELIVER TO THE OTHER PARTY TO THIS CONTRACT A WRITTEN NOTICE, REFERRING TO CHAPTER 558, OF ANY CONSTRUCTION CONDITIONS YOU ALLEGE ARE DEFECTIVE AND PROVIDE SUCH PERSON THE OPPORTUNITY TO INSPECT THE ALLEGED CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS AND TO CONSIDER MAKING AN OFFER TO REPAIR OR PAY FOR THE ALLEGED CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS. YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO ACCEPT ANY OFFER WHICH MAY BE MADE. THERE ARE STRICT DEADLINES AND PROCEDURES UNDER THIS FLORIDA LAW WHICH MUST BE MET AND FOLLOWED TO PROTECT YOUR INTERESTS.
At Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A., as a former contractor and land developer, we possess the knowledge and experience necessary to guide you successfully through the maze of construction laws and documents. If you are contemplating starting a construction project, need to file a claim of lien or one has been filed against you, experienced defective construction or have any other issue relating to the construction process or documents, call us immediately. We are here and ready to help.
Jacksonville Construction Defect Attorney Daniel M. Copeland is Here for You
For help with a construction defect claim in northeast Florida, contact Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A. in Jacksonville at 904-482-0616 for a free case evaluation.