Water Intrusion Damages and Claims
Wood rot and decay can destroy your largest investment and place you and your family’s future in financial peril. Since the earliest days of building science, those involved in the design and construction of buildings have known that water will enter a structure and adequate drainage mechanisms, such as flashings and weeps, must be incorporated into the building envelope. Since the 1970s, our buildings have become tighter and more energy efficient. Because a tighter home does not dry as quickly, the need to anticipate foreseeable water intrusion has become sacrosanct.
Since 1988, Joel Rhine has been handling water intrusion lawsuits throughout the country and has developed a national reputation on the topic. These cases are very complex, both factually and legally. For example, in most cases many construction and design participants will be sued. This includes general contractors, numerous sub-contractors, architects, engineers, and product manufacturers. Each party will have experts, often several experts. As for the law, the claims for relief (or legal theories) are numerous, and the law on the claims and affirmative defenses have become very nuanced.
For example, the economic loss rule has reemerged in construction litigation as a formidable defense that is often asserted by product manufacturers and general contractors. This defense severely limits the type and amount of damages that an owner may recover. Other defenses, like the statutes of limitation and repose are bitterly fought in these cases. The way our courts interpret standard insurance policies differs dramatically from state to state and in many instances, the law in a particular jurisdiction is unsettled. This and much more makes water intrusion litigation one of the most important, difficult and complex types of litigation that is prosecuted in our court system.
Construction Defects and Identifying the Negligent Party
Who will be a potential defendant in a water intrusion construction defect case is dependent, in large part, on the reason for the leak and the reason the water became trapped. Our attorney understands the importance of determining the source of the water intrusion, identifying those responsible for the water intrusion, and determining why the water management features did not evacuate the water. Each of these issues is usually contested and must be carefully evaluated with the help of knowledgeable experts. At the Rhine Law Firm, P.C. we call upon top level professionals to identify the underlying causes, so that the water intrusion lawsuit is brought against the correct parties.
Shoddy Building Practices and Water Intrusion in Wilmington
North Carolina has been in a building boom for decades. A new home or condo may be damaged by water intrusion, leading to the need for very costly repairs. Some of the most common, and potentially dangerous types of water damage include:
- Foundation cracks, sinking
- Structural damage
- Toxic mold growth
- Rotting wood components
- Collapsed ceiling, floor, walls
- Rusted, weakened steel components
- Plywood delamination and warping
- Personal property damage
- Toxic black water, unsanitary and harmful to human health
Water Damage to Your Property: What to Do Next
Please consult with an experienced trial attorney who works in this area and can provide you with legitimate experts, who you will need regardless of whether you end up in litigation. In addition to determining the necessary repairs, these experts are familiar with the claims process and can assist you with documenting the issues.
In fact, if the water damage is the result of a construction defect, you can likely file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. Note that there is a statute of limitations that allows for only three years from when the damage became apparent or should have become apparent to file a construction defect claim, with some exceptions. The statute of repose requires that any lawsuit be filed within six years from the last act or omission or the date of substantial completion, which has been defined as the date a certificate of occupancy is issued.
Can I File a Lawsuit for Water Damage in NC?
The costs involved in repairing a home after water damage can range from the tens to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Insurance companies often do not cover the cost of water damage, and telling you that your policy and the general contractor’s policy do not cover this damage is not unusual – it is common. Your lawyer needs to have a thorough understanding of what is and is not covered and when and under what circumstances the coverage is triggered.
Whether your insurance covers the damage or not, finding out whether a construction defect is the underlying cause of the problem opens the door to filing suit against a negligent builder, plumber, roofer, designer, architect, or other party. We can evaluate your case and advise you about the best way to move forward.
In very few cases, a settlement offer is put on the table. Will the settlement be adequate to cover the cost of repairs? What about any costs incurred when you were forced to find accommodations elsewhere? These issues need to be discussed with your lawyer – call us for help you can trust. We can help you determine whether your offer is fair, or whether it is in your best interests to move forward with a lawsuit in civil court. Our Wilmington construction litigation attorneys are here to help homeowners get justice after water has severely damaged the home. Call today and get the high quality, professional representation you deserve.
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Our firm can help you hold negligent or careless drivers and their insurance companies financially responsible for your medical expenses, rehabilitative costs, income loss, home modifications (if necessary) and most importantly, the pain and suffering you have endured.
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