A group of residents in River Ridge filed suit on February 25, 2015 against contractor BLD Services LLC in a local district court for allegedly causing significant damage to their homes while performing a road drainage project along Jefferson Highway.

The plaintiffs assert that BLD’s liability is based on negligent design of the construction process–which included pile driving, excavating and the transport and use of heavy equipment—caused damage that BLD inspected and agreed to repair, but never did.

They accused the defendant of:

  • Violating the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act.
  • Failure to meet contract guidelines.
  • Failure to perform a review of the work undertaken.
  • Failure to prevent damage.
  • Failure to use appropriate workmanship and care.
  • Failing to mitigate damages.

The plaintiffs are suing for unspecified monetary damages for property damage, diminution in property values, emotional distress, anxiety and personal economic losses.

Construction Liability: Protecting Yourself Means Knowing Your Risks

The experienced attorneys at Smiley Law know all too well that with risks such as damage to adjacent properties, environmental damage and noise complaints, your legal and financial protection must extend beyond the worksite.

Before starting any project, we recommend the following steps:

  • Review your contracts, worksites and surrounding areas to identify potential risks.
  • Obtain construction liability insurance to cover plausible risks and shop around to ensure you are not paying for coverage that you don’t really need.
  • Review your insurance policies every few months to confirm that coverage suits your projects.

If you are faced with a liability claim, you will need to know you federal, state and local statutory rights and obligations in order to avoid paying for damages that exceed your scope of liability. Depending on the situation, any party in the construction process, from the architect to the developer to the owner or renter, can be held liable for damages.

For instance, if a renter may be held liable for damages to the rented property or adjacent properties if it is found that he overloaded his units causing a short circuit, which resulted in a fire. If a fault in the circuitry design is to blame then liability may ultimately rest on the contractor and the electrician installed it (note — statues of limitations do limit liability to a certain number of years after construction).

Smiley Law: Helping You When Unexpected Contract Claims Strike

As a contractor, your exposure to liability can persist for years after a project ends, and satisfying your client on a project does not guarantee protection from lawsuits in the future. No matter how well you build your structures, you should consult with a qualified lawyer to prepare yourself for the unexpected. With years of experience in construction liability issues, the team of professionals at Smiley Law can make sure that your contracting firm is protected no matter what happens down the line.

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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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