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Rise of Construction Defect Claims and the Role of Expert Witnesses

Construction defect claims increase due to defective parts, materials, substances and similar concerns and have been on the rise. When the goal of the construction project is speed, there are many shortcuts taken that lead to injury and death for workers and those involved in the situation.

However, improving construction defect claims is a primary goal so that the resolution process may proceed and a remedy is found such as compensation for those injured compensatory payouts provided to the family of deceased workers that lost their lives due to defects. When these cases arise, it is important to seek the assistance of an expert witness.

Consultants are often obtained in addition to lawyers and expert witnesses. Consulting services are provided by professionals whose job it is to explain certain circumstances, provide assistance with knowledge into an area or by contacting the right persons to aid in the case. Construction defect claims are generally complicated and technical. This means that a professional with the right knowledge, training and experience in the subject is contacted to help with the issue. If a trial is necessary, these
experts may provide testimony and a report of findings and opinions based on standard methods that aid in conclusions of these matters.

What is a Construction Defect Claim?

There are significant injuries that arise through defects in construction. This could be the materials, parts used or the design drafted for the erected structure. When the materials are the reason for the problem, this could be extensive and include the entirety of the building. If only certain parts are the cause, these could be replaced carefully to avoid any possible future legal entanglements. However, if the design was flawed, this could lead to the entire building from the foundation to the highest peak having an issue that may either cause the structure to topple or various harm sustained through standard use of the building such as walking or climbing stairs.

Defective materials may be inferior, the wrong type or purchased in good faith but have lesser quality. An example would be concrete mixed together that should be standard, but some of the mixture includes air pockets in tiny granules. While the mixing process may remove many of these along with the solidifying of the substance, it is still possible the air pockets may survive the procedure and later pop while someone is near. In this scenario, the person affected could be hit with debris that falls, slide through a wall or beam and damage his or her body or suffer lacerations from concrete being ejected from the air pockets. The resulting claim may hold the construction company that mixed the cement accountable, or the contracted business that is responsible for the project may be liable.

The Role of the Expert Witness

Many professionals that are hired as expert witnesses have experience in the field of the subject. This could mean they were contractors, construction workers or have assisted in erecting structures in a city. When they have knowledge of the building process from design to the completion, they are often able to explain what went wrong and where. Recreating the incident may be difficult if the problem is with materials, but if the design plans are the issue, this is much easier to discern. Defects in parts may be discovered through routine inspections or when examining the building after injuries occurred. Working backward from the incident to the possible cause may be difficult, but with knowledge and experience in these matters, the expert witness may be able to recreate the issue to hold the correct party accountable for damages.

Focusing on the resolution to the concern may be the primary focus of an expert witness. In doing so, testimony provided may explain how injuries were caused, what the reason for the incident is and why compensation or another remedy is necessary as a solution to the incident. Working with a lawyer and other professionals, the expert witness may be utilized in drafting report that explains through standard methods the defect is the root cause of all included injuries. Materials used could have been purchased with knowledge that they were inferior. This could have led to the complications and harm caused. The design may have been drafted hastily with little concern about possible defects or distribution of weight of a structure. If the entire building falls, many could be harmed or die in the process. An expert witness may detail these issues to the judge or jury.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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