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Type of construction defect can impact time to file lawsuit

When your home or business has construction defects or design flaws, you can end up facing significant costs to repair the damages and any safety issues caused by these defects and flaws. What can you do to help pay for the damage to your home or business property?

If you live in California, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the construction company or contractor responsible for the defects. If you are thinking about filing a lawsuit, you need to be aware of the statute of limitations according to state law that may impact your lawsuit. 

The statute of limitations puts a time limit for lawsuits to be filed for design or construction defects. The time limit is different depending on the type of defect or design flaw.  

If you have a patent defect, the statute of limitations is four years with a few exceptions. What is a patent defect? A patent defect is when the defects in the property are apparent during an inspection or if they are readily discoverable. If your property was damaged from a patent defect, you have to file a lawsuit within four years of the construction being completed with a few exceptions. The same time frame applies for any bodily injuries or death caused by a defect.

The other type of defect is a latent defect. A latent defect is when the defects or design flaws are hidden. If you have latent defects, you have 10 years to file a lawsuit, which is much longer than the statute of limitations for a patent defect. If your property has been damaged due to a latent defect, you have 10 years from the completion of construction to file a lawsuit. Some exceptions may apply depending on when the defect was discovered. If someone was injured or killed due to a latent defect, a lawsuit must be filed within 1 year of discovering the defect.

The statute of limitations for filing a construction defect lawsuit can be complex and difficult to understand. Since every case is unique, you may want to consult an attorney do discuss your specific case and legal issues. 

Source: The American Institute of Architects California Council, "Statute of Limitations," Accessed May 16, 2014

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