How Does a Florida Construction Defect Lawsuit Start?
Pursuant to Florida Statute Chapter 558, before any Florida construction defect lawsuit can be started a written Notice of Claim must be sent to any “construction professional” a homeowner, Condominium or Homeowner Association, or building owner believes is responsible for the defects. The Notice of Claim “must describe in reasonable detail the nature of each alleged construction defect and, if known, the damage or loss resulting from the defect.” Chapter 558 defines a construction professional is any contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional whose potential fault is based upon a “deficiency in, or a deficiency arising out of, the design, specifications, surveying, planning, supervision, observation of construction, or construction, repair, alteration, or remodeling of real property.” The Notice of Claim process is intended to provide construction professionals “an opportunity to resolve the claim through confidential negotiations without resort to further legal process.”
The construction professional has 30 days (50 days with an Association of 20 parcels or more) after receiving the Notice of Claim to inspect the property and may, by mutual agreement, conduct destructive testing. The construction professional then has 45 days (75 days with an Association of 20 parcels or more) to provide the owner a written response to the Notice of Claim. This response may provide an offer to repair the defects, an offer to pay the owner money to make repairs on the homeowners own, an offer providing a combination of repairs and money, a statement disputing the Notice of Claim and refusing to settle the claims, or a statement offering to settle based on the construction professional’s insurer’s determination regarding coverage. If the construction professional makes one of these settlement offers, the owner has 45 days to accept or reject that offer in writing. If the owner rejects the offer, the homeowner can then file a construction defect lawsuit.
A construction professional can also serve the Notice of Claim on any construction professional it believes may be responsible for the defects. The original construction professional has 10 days from receiving the original Notice to serve these additional parties, who have 15 days (30 days with an Association of 20 parcels or more) after receiving the Notice of Claim to inspect the property and make an offer of settlement or to dispute the Notice.
There are many other aspects of the Chapter 558 Notice of Claim process any owner must be aware of before service the Notice. Burg Simpson can assist any owner in evaluating potential construction defects and making sure your Notice of Claim and any subsequent litigation is handled properly from beginning to end. Submit your Free Case Evaluation form or call us at 941-777-6776 today.