1. How do I know if a construction defect exists?
Many construction defects are not easily detected by non-experts. However, signs such as window leaks, roof leaks, stained or cracked drywall, ponding, standing water in basements or crawl spaces, soil heave or settlement, cracked foundations, slabs or flatwork, inoperable windows or doors, cracked or settling asphalt, insufficient heating or air conditioning and even electrical problems can be indicative of much larger problems.
2. What should I do if I discover a defect?
If you find or suspect a construction defect, the best approach is to have it investigated by a professional. Wilson Reeder & Zudar have spent years learning who are the best experts in the field. If we agree to work with one another, Wilson Reeder & Zudar will retain experts on your behalf to investigate the possible defect. If the professionals do not find a defect, or the defect so minimal that it is not worth pursuing, you will owe us nothing. There really is no risk to consulting with us. Every initial consultation is free.
3. What is the statute of limitations in Florida?
This is a bit of a trick question. Construction defect cases are subject to both a statute of limitations and a statute of repose. The statute of limitations in Florida for construction defect cases. This generally means that you must commence an action within four years after you knew or reasonably should have known of the presence of a defect that was resulting in damage to your home. The statute of repose is ten years from the latest of several events, but generally, the latest event is when the contract on your home terminated. The attorneys at Wilson Reeder & Zudar have been instrumental in shaping the parameters of the statute of repose in the appellate courts.
4. What is arbitration and is it mandatory?
Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that involves a third-party arbitrator (either an individual or a panel) who decides the outcome of a case after presentation of evidence by both sides. Most construction contracts with homeowners contain arbitration provisions, but these can be waived by builders, which some builders elect to do. Additionally, if you are a subsequent purchaser, you may be able to avoid arbitration if you desire, though the law is not entirely settled on this issue.
There are benefits to arbitration. Arbitrations are generally quicker than jury trials and require much less discovery. This means that the client is generally able to get through the process less intrusively than in a trial setting. Additionally, arbitrations take place in a conference room before one or more arbitrators, not in a courtroom in front of a judge and jury.
Most cases resolve prior to trial or arbitration, but for those that don’t, arbitration is not necessarily a bad thing.
5. How do I select a construction defect attorney?
A number of factors are important in selecting a construction defect attorney. The Florida Bar requires all clients to sign a Statement of Clients’ Rights that goes over things you should consider when hiring an attorney. You should, of course, consider the experience and expertise of the attorney handling the case. Is the attorney Board Certified or otherwise qualified to handle your case? How many trials and/or arbitrations has the attorney handled? How frequently do cases go all the way to trial or arbitration? All of these factors are crucial to consider when hiring an attorney.
Also important to consider is who will be primarily handling the case. At Wilson Reeder & Zudar, the attorney you speak with at the beginning of the case will handle your case for its entirety and will be available to answer any questions and speak with you when necessary.