Damage to home and liability
August 31, 2006 3:06 AM   Subscribe

During construction on the common area of the town home complex I live in, workers may have damaged my water main, possibly causing damage to the interior of my home. They are trying to determine the damage now. Do I need a lawyer?

This work was contracted out by the general condo association, not by me. The general contractor is now working to find any damage. That may involve tearing up my kitchen floor. I am concerned about any repairs and remodeling and the quality of work done to fix this. I'm also concerned that the repairs might be a 'quick fix'. Do I need to get a second opinion and/or a lawyer so that any future work related will also be compensated for?
posted by rryan to Law & Government (5 answers total)
You might consider a public adjuster, who (for a fee) can cut through the various insurance policies. You have homeowner's right? They will protect your interests.
posted by fixedgear at 5:04 AM on August 31, 2006

Check to see if your home insurer offers free legal advice. Many do these days. It won't be a lawyer you talk to to start with but they will appoint one for you down the road if you need one.
posted by humuhumu at 6:12 AM on August 31, 2006

Permits permits permits! Whatever they do, make sure they have permits. You can't do very much with a home at all without permits. Even things that look incredibly simple need permits (ex: Stairs up to your front porch). If you make sure they have permits and the inspector passes the work, you can at least be assured it was done right.
posted by shepd at 7:51 AM on August 31, 2006

I 2nd shepd. With the permits you can be assured that the contractor is licensed and bonded. The inspector will check for code, but not quality. Much of what may be important to you is not inspected i.e. floor coverings, trim work, etc.

Begin a chronology of events.

Take lots of photos.

Do not settle for anything less than equal or better.

Do not sign anything releasing liability.

A Civil Engineer can assess cause and effect and act as an expert witness if it ever comes down to that.

Good luck.
posted by mrleec at 8:41 AM on August 31, 2006

Thanks for the help. I found out that the contractor does have permits. We are going to get a lawyer when a plan is given, and we are not going to sign anything releasing liability.

Thanks to fixedgear, humuhumu, shepd and mrlecc!

posted by rryan at 12:03 PM on August 31, 2006

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