What Is the Construction Defect Law in Tennessee? Read This and Find Out
Construction defects can be the cause of very serious injuries or even fatalities. As such, those parties found liable for the construction defect need to be held accountable and made to pay damages to the victims.
Under Tennessee law, victims can sue for alleged personal injuries arising from a construction defect as long as they serve written notice before the statute of limitations expires.
The construction industry is full of untrustworthy contractors who take shortcuts during the construction of buildings, often resulting in serious defects. Therefore, it is not unusual to see a trial court held to bring such contractors to book and punish them according to Tennessee construction law.
However, it is not always easy for victims to win such cases because of the many different factors that need to be considered. Often, the parties responsible for poor residential construction defects, for example, will try as much as they can to avoid paying damages claimed by the victims.
In such cases, a good lawyer with a firm grasp of Tennessee construction law can help victims fight for their rights and receive fair compensation. Victims considering filing a construction defect claim can call Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys and request a free consultation today! They can also help with questions like, "How do I report a nursing home negligence in Tennessee?"
Common Types of Cases Dealing With Construction Defects
Each construction defect claim is different depending on the particular circumstances. In general, the following are the common types of cases regarding construction defects:
Defective construction or non-conforming work
Defective materials and supplies
Prompt Pay Act
Failure to pay
Incomplete work or contract termination
Mechanics and materials liens
Differing site conditions
Project or work delay
Extra work and change orders
Surety and bond claims
Statute of Limitations and Repose Periods
Injuries related to construction defects are covered under the personal injury statute of limitations. In Tennessee, the victims only have one year to file their construction defect claim for personal injuries and a three-year statute of limitations for property damage.
Considering the extensive amount of work that needs to be done by lawyers while researching the case, one year is very little time. This is why victims need to approach a good construction accident attorney the moment they discover that their injuries may be due to construction defects.
The statute of limitations starts the moment the plaintiffs claimed they first knew of the injuries, or when the Tennessee court decides that they should reasonably have known.
If the claimant alleges that the injuries they suffered are due to construction defects in a building that has since been completed or improved, the statute of repose is four years from the date of completion of the building.
What Is Substantial Completion and Why Does It Matter?
Substantial completion means the specified improvement of a particular part of the project, or the degree of completion of the project to make it suitable for its intended use. If the project is not entirely complete, any remaining work must not be substantial.
Proving substantial completion can be done using a written agreement between the owner of the building and the contractor. This must contain reasonable detail sufficient to prove that the real property was completed according to the recommendations of the applicable statute of repose.
If any correction or repair period was granted, it is usually 12 or 24 months from the date of substantial completion
Two Common Defenses in Alleged Construction Defect Cases
When going against the at-fault parties in a construction defect claim, an experienced lawyer usually expects to face a lot of opposition. In most cases, the defendants use either of the following defenses:
Economic Loss Doctrine
Unless the defect has resulted in injury, the economic loss doctrine limits the damages that the owner can be held accountable for to those of repairing or replacing the defective work.
Any additional damages, such as those covering mental anguish or pain and suffering will not be covered if the economic loss doctrine is applied. If the victim wants to sue for added damages, such as medical bills, they will need to provide sufficient evidence to warrant such damages.
This is why victims need to have a good lawyer on their side when they take on construction companies. Such doctrines will be used against them as the at-fault party tries to avoid being held liable.
Statute of Repose
As mentioned earlier, the statute of repose for construction defect claims is just four years. This is due to the Tennessee legislature that tries to limit the burden of cases placed on the court system.
The at-fault party may try to use this statute of repose to their advantage by claiming that the residential or commercial property in question was completed at a much earlier date than that being claimed by the victim.
If true, the court may rule that the statute of repose has expired and the case will not be heard. However, an experienced lawyer will know how to disprove such claims, for example, by referring to the contracts signed between the property owner and the prime contractor.
An Experienced Lawyer Can Help With a Construction Defect Claim
Victims that have suffered personal injuries or significant property damage caused by the negligence of the owner of the building, the prime contractor, or equipment manufacturers have the right to sue for damages covering:
Pain and suffering
While property damage claims may be easy to prove in court using receipts, it is not so simple to determine damages covering pain and suffering. If the defendants try to use the economic loss doctrine to their advantage, victims will need a very good lawyer on their side.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has many years of experience helping victims in similar situations. With millions of dollars won in compensation claims, this is one of the most highly recommended law firms in Tennessee. They can also answer questions such as, "What causes the most falls in construction?"
The law firm has very affordable attorneys’ fees and is ready to go to war for the rights of all victims of construction defects. Victims should visit the law offices of Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys in Tennessee and request a free case evaluation.