Lakeland Contractor & Design Professional Insurance Lawyer
Contractor Design Professional Coverage
Contractor professional liability coverage is a form of insurance that insures against liability due to mistakes in the technical aspects of a construction project as opposed to the workmanship itself. Sometimes the general contractor takes on design responsibilities within the scope of the project, such as in the case of a design-build or design-assist project. Design professionals like architects, engineers and surveyors maintain Errors & Omissions (E&O) professional liability insurance to protect themselves in the event their work leads to defective construction. The contractor on a design-build or design-assist project might want to get the same type of coverage as well. As a former construction defect insurance defense lawyer, attorney Michael Ruel is well-versed in the different types of applicable coverage and how to deal with coverage disputes and claim denials. If you are a contractor, design professional, property owner, or other party to a construction defect dispute, the Ruel Law Firm can help you sort out the insurance issues you are dealing with and make sure you are treated fairly. Contact our experienced Lakeland construction insurance lawyer today.
Contractor Professional Liability Insurance
Contractor professional liability insurance is an errors and omissions (E&O) policy that applies to contractors rendering professional services as part of a construction project. Coverage can include situations where the contractor offers in-house design services or contracts with third parties as part of the project.
Contractor professional liability insurance is purchased in addition to general liability insurance. Many general liability policies specifically exclude professional liability from coverage. Although some general liability policies might contain exceptions to that exclusion, general liability insurance only covers personal injury and property damage. Professional liability insurance, on the other hand, covers all kinds of economic losses caused by professional errors.
Contractor professional liability insurance can also be combined with protective indemnity insurance to create a comprehensive policy known as Contractor’s Protective Professional Indemnity. The indemnity portion will cover the contractor in cases where a design professional subcontractor made errors but is not fully insured to cover the loss to the homeowner.
Contractor professional liability insurance won’t cover losses due to bidding errors, time management (scheduling, delay) errors, faulty workmanship, or bodily injury claims. Different policies will exclude certain specific risks of loss and contain different deductibles, different self-insured retention amounts, and other key policy features. Attorney Michael Ruel has over 15 years of legal expertise in reading insurance contracts and can advise you on the scope of coverage in your policy as well as notice and other procedural requirements to make a claim, and we can also negotiate or litigate the claim on your behalf to see that you get the policy benefits you purchased.
Design Defects Are Construction Defects
Florida construction defect law defines a construction defect to include a deficiency arising out of the design of a construction project, including “a failure of the design of real property to meet the applicable professional standards of care at the time of governmental approval.” Design professionals under the law include architects, landscape architects, engineers, surveyors, geologists, and registered interior designers. Design professional mistakes can include, for example:
- Building code violations, such as failing to consider and address a particular building code provision
- Making unauthorized changes to the plans
- Specifying the wrong materials unsuitable for the job or project
- Making choices that failed to protect against water intrusion through the roof, windows or doors
Design Professionals and Construction Defect Claims
Florida construction defect law provides a method to resolve construction disputes that is aimed at reducing the need for litigation while also protecting the rights of property owners. This process requires the homeowner to first file a notice of the claim with the contractor, subcontractor, supplier or design professional responsible for the defect. Design professionals and their insurers must then be provided with an opportunity to resolve the claim through confidential settlement negotiations rather than litigation.
Although the negligence of the design professional might be responsible for the construction defect, the construction defect law provides an escape hatch for design professionals to avoid being held personally liable under the law. The company that hired the design professional can still be held liable, though. Design professionals will not be held individually liable for negligence if the following factors are present:
- The contract between the contractor and property owner doesn’t name the design professional
- The contract includes a prominent disclaimer at least five points larger than the rest of the text disclaiming the design professional’s individual liability for negligence
- The contractor has professional liability insurance
- Damages are solely economic (no personal injury or property damage outside of the subject property)
Contact the Ruel Law Firm Today
The Ruel Law Firm can help you determine whether the notice requirement and other provisions of Florida construction defect law apply to your claim against the contractor or design professional and represent you in the process of resolving your claim, whether through a negotiated settlement or litigation in appropriate cases. Contact our experienced Lakeland construction defect lawyer today.
PROPERTY DAMAGE Insurance Claims
- Wind Damage
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- Examination Under Oath
- Stucco Defects
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- Window & Door Defects
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- Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing Defects (MEP)
- Violation of Building Codes
- Design Professional Liability
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- Contractor & Design Professional Insurance