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Can I sue for injuries caused by a construction defect?

Anyone who has contracted to have a house built or have an addition put on knows minimum requirements for the design, construction and materials must be met. Building codes spell out the specifics.

Every state has its own rules. Indiana is no different. Every community is also supposed to have processes in place to ensure compliance. Failure to comply can lead to serious injury, illness, or even death.

Rules may be overlooked at times. Proper permits aren’t obtained. Inspectors sign off on bad work. When the oversight is less than robust, disasters happen. This can perhaps be seen by looking at the recent apartment tower fire in London. Dozens died when fire consumed the building. Officials blame flammable exterior siding.

Recovering damages due to defects

Not every defect in construction results in injury. However, failures can combine to cause significant illness or injury. For example, improper soil preparation (including grading) could lead to water seeping into the home and the development of hazardous mold. If carpentry standards are not met, the structural collapse could follow.

Every state’s laws vary. But if you suffer damages due to defects, you may be able to recover some of your financial losses related to repair and loss of property value. If you are injured due to the defects, you have a right to seek recovery for medical costs and wage losses. In some states, punitive damages might be imposed.

It depends on the circumstances of your case. It is worth noting that under Indiana law, contractors and builders have a right to fix defects discovered before a lawsuit can be filed. However, the law also obligates them to inform clients of that right as part of the contract process.

Laws are the rule we follow, but the law can be complicated. Optimal results depend on having an experienced advocate at your side.

Author Photo

Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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