This past February, a homeowner in Westwego filed suit against a developer for flood damage he claims resulted from a number of nearby buildings the developer constructed.
Kent D. Trosclair Sr. claims that Westbank Investment purchased several parcels of land near his home and began to construct commercial developments, including a Family Dollar store directly behind his house and a medical clinic on a nearby lot. The plaintiff maintains that the construction has impaired water drainage in the area, resulting in frequent floods in his home.
Trosclair asserts that Westbank is liable for the flooding, citing Westwego city codes requiring the developer to build retaining walls to prevent such occurrences. The plaintiff is suing the developer for an unspecified amount for negligent violation of these codes.
Familiarize Yourself With the Most Common Risks and Liability Scenarios
Knowledge of local, state and federal building codes and liability statutes is critical in any construction project. Proper adherence to these laws can protects you from liability in the face of the unexpected and can reduce the chance of an unfair judgment against you. Liabilities can arise from a wide range of sources and can cause damages to neighbors, passers-by and other parties outside the purview of your project. In addition to liability incidents that occur during construction, as a developer, contractor or supplier your liability may persist for a period lasting many years following completion of the project.
During construction, one of the most common liability exposures is injury to workers, neighbors and bystanders. Another source of liability may be environmental damage, noise complaints and other non-catastrophic damages.
Following construction, anyone in the construction process, from the architect to the developer to the owner or renter, can be held liable for damages depending on the incident. For instance, if a fire sparked by a short circuit is found to be caused by the renter overloading his unit’s circuits, the renter may be held liable. On the other hand, a fault in the circuitry design may incur liability on the electrician, and may ultimately devolve on the contractor.
Damage resulting from natural causes, such as strong winds, rain, earthquakes, may also incur liability for the builder if it reveals a flaw in construction that violates a building code. For example, if a mudslide uproots a residential building you built and causes it to slide down the hill and collide into a neighboring house, you may be held liable for a faulty foundation, depending on local codes that reflect the frequency of such occurrences in your locale.
Get Legal Advice to Protect Your Firm Against Liabilities
Human and environmental factors combine with chance to produce countless possible liabilities, and your contracts, building practices and insurance coverage need to account for the risks you are most exposed to. Knowing who is liable and under what circumstances becomes essential long before an incident occurs involving your building. Contact the experienced construction attorneys at Smiley Law to make sure that you are prepared for the unexpected.