Insurance Claims Attorneys
Any construction project, no matter how large or small, is bound to have some sort of issue come up. Most of the time, these issues are resolved during the project and cause no harm, but some don’t appear until after construction is finished.
Defects in home, condo or commercial construction can be very dangerous for occupants and costly for owners. These defects must be fixed as quickly as possible, so a claim is filed against the offending party. Insurance coverage is how these claims are paid and resolved most of the time.
Gainesville construction insurance claim attorneys
If you’re a property owner and discover a construction defect, it could affect the safety of your family, tenants or patrons. Defects can also be costly in terms of lost business or tenants. The longer the defect goes unresolved, the greater these safety and financial risks become.
Conversely, if you’re a contractor, subcontractor, or participant in the construction process and are accused of causing a construction defect, your insurance or surety is supposed to defend and pay any claims. If it’s later determined you were in fact responsible for the defect, you may be required to repay your carrier.
In either of these cases, an attorney with specific knowledge about construction and insurance is needed to either ensure you’re able to fix the problem or defend you against claims of defective work.
Ensuring adequate insurance coverage for construction defects
Professional liability insurance, known as Owners & Contractors Protective Liability (OCP) insurance in the construction industry, is critical for ensuring companies have the means to pay for any defective work claims. OCP insurance policies are taken out by contractors to cover bodily injuries or property damages caused by their work.
According to the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI), contractors “purchase the policy to provide coverage for vicarious liability the client (project owner) incurs as a result of the contractor’s acts or omissions on the project.”
Construction and insurance attorneys at Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A. in Gainesville can help determine if a contractor has adequate coverage for a given project. If a claim is filed, attorneys can help a contractor or subcontractor ensure the carrier pays to resolve the particular problem.
Warranty disputes in construction defect cases
Most, if not all, construction projects have a warranty covering defects. It is virtually impossible for an owner to inspect and sign off on every single detail in a construction project. Warranties for construction projects help resolve this dilemma by providing the owner a way to resolve issues either during or after construction.
When an owner files a warranty claim, contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers can, and often do, dispute the claim so they don’t have to resolve the error.
Warranties often contain fine print that is difficult for a lay person to understand, which is why an attorney is vital for helping owners understand what their warranty covers and how to file a claim with the contractor.
Filing a claim for construction defects
Section 558 of Florida Statutes provides steps that an owner must follow when filing a claim for defective work with a contractor or subcontractor. These steps, or requirements, include:
- An owner/claimant must provide written notice to the contractor or whomever the claimant contracted at least 60 days before filing any action (or at least 120 days involving an association of more than 20 parcels).
- Once a contractor receives a complaint, they have 30 days (or 50 days in an association with more than 20 parcels) to perform a reasonable inspection to determine the level of work required to address the problem.
- Within 10 days of receiving a notice, the entity must notify any contractors, subcontractors or suppliers it feels are responsible for the defect.
- If the person or entity served with a claim doesn’t respond within 45 days (or 75 days in an association with more than 20 parcels), the claimant will be able to pursue other legal actions.
This and other laws surrounding construction defects and insurance claims can be quite confusing, which is why enlisting an attorney is critical to ensuring the problems are resolved in a timely manner.
Construction insurance claim attorneys in Gainesville
As both a licensed contractor and certified construction expert with the Florida Bar, attorney Robert Butts has the expertise to settle construction insurance claims in the most effective way possible. Often times, these disputes are resolved through mediation or arbitration, but if required, Mr. Butts and support staff also has extensive litigation experience.
If you’re an owner who has discovered a construction defect, it’s vitally important you discuss your case with an attorney to ensure you file an insurance or warranty claim properly. If you’re a contractor, subcontractor or supplier who is the subject of a claim, you need expert assistance to ensure the claim is legitimate and to defend your interests.
It’s important you not delay speaking with an attorney. Contact insurance claim attorney Robert Butts and associates at Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A. in Gainesville to discuss your case today.