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A patient is suing a New Orleans-area medical clinic for grave injuries that she claims resulted from a poorly installed window treatment. On January 7 Yvette Hilton filed suit against Access Health Louisiana following a visit to the company’s Belle Chasse Community Health Center during which she alleges that the window treatment fell on her, causing severe and debilitating injuries to her head, shoulder, neck and back. According to Hilton, the treatment fell due to a gust of wind caused by another patient closing the door to the waiting room in which she was sitting.

Legal Exposure that Lasts Long After You Finish Construction

If the window treatment was installed under the legal purview of the general contractor and the premises of the clinic still fall within the contractor’s liability period, the clinic’s owner may in turn seek a settlement with the builder to recover any financial payout the court may award to the plaintiff.

As a developer, contractor or subcontractor, you bear legal responsibility for your work under the terms stipulated by state law, unless explicitly stipulated otherwise in your contract. Good professional practices and adherence to the standards of your trade remain your front-line protection against liability, but without certified proof that you complied with the standards, you may still end up exposed to liability.

A certificate of construction compliance is issued by an authorized compliance agency, and is usually required in order to obtain a certificate of occupancy from your local authorities. Getting compliance-certified in a timely manner can become your first defense against claims of poor workmanship or materials, but you’ll need to know what to do if a plaintiff alleges a flaw that contradicts the certifier’s approval. In complex projects involving many parties and stages of construction, you may want to supplement the required certification with your own compliance documentation, including photographs, work descriptions and receipts, in order to prove to a court that you took all possible measures to ensure proper construction.

Consult Our Legal Team for Strategy Against Tragedy

A good compliance strategy can prevent tragedy, and maintaining comprehensive compliance documentation can save your company from frivolous lawsuits and unfair judgments. To see how you can best document your firm’s compliance, consult with the legal team at Smiley Law, your partners in construction.

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Seth Smiley
Seth is an attorney licensed to practice in Louisiana and California. He is the owner and lead attorney at Smiley Law Firm. To speak with Seth fill out the form on this page.
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