"Perhaps someone who has suffered an injury from faulty construction has had a bad experience with a prior claim, or they want to save money," adds Scott. "From my experience, if you don't do this for a living [premises liability law], there is a huge learning curve. We do this for a living; if you want to try and handle this by yourself and accept pennies on the dollar that is your business, but if you want to get fully compensated for your injuries, that is our business." And all of Scott's premises liability cases, including faulty construction claims, are handled on a contingency basis...
Scott's firm also hires experts wherever necessary—from safety engineering investigators to medical experts—for a number of reasons. And that is why you should consider contacting an attorney to help with your faulty construction claim rather than going it alone.
"When someone is injured the first thing we must know is the statute of limitations," Scott explains. "We want to gather and preserve all the evidence, which often involves having a safety expert look at the premises, and obtaining a police report, and we want to do this sooner than later. Some people want to try and do it themselves, but here in California, if they wait past six months they can be barred from forever recovering money from the responsible party.
Premises Liability Expert Witnesses
Scott's firm employs experts and companies that are able to put together exhibits in a plain and easy way for the average person to understand. "For instance, our medical team will put together an anatomical diagram that shows how a disc might impinge on a nerve; they can spell out medical information in a language the jury understands.
"Whether we go to trial or mediation, having these exhibits prepared is extremely useful: It demonstrates clearly what the doctor is talking about and it clearly communicates to the mediator what our client injuries are. Furthermore, it shows to the defense at the time of mediation that not only are we prepared; we also mean business."
Scott's firm also employs a safety engineering company that creates exhibits to clarify complex engineering and architectural issues. "Through diagrams, electronic exhibits and more, they can show faulty architecture and engineering—why it is broken, why this part of the structure failed…"
Faulty Construction Claims
Scott says that the most common faulty construction claims occur in walking areas due to shoddy work that was either done poorly or failed soon after it was constructed. Faulty construction claims include:
• Sidewalk areas where construction is taking place
• Hallways, stairs and pathways with poor lighting
• Handrail failures and step accidents
• Deck failures, deck and stairway collapses due to negligent construction
• Stairwell accidents and step failures (e.g., carpeting)
• Elevator and escalator accidents (clothing or feet entrapped due to guard issues)
Faulty Construction Examples
"I recently had a case where a company carpeted stairs in a building and a few months later the carpeting became loose," says Scott. "My client caught his foot and tumbled down a flight of stairs, causing numerous fractures. We settled out of court with the property owner.
"Another example of faulty construction was due to poor lighting the contractor ordered and installed. There was an insufficient amount of night lighting in an elderly community and one of the residents couldn't see the step. He tripped and had to undergo surgery for a fractured neck. The contractor and the property owner shared liability and the settlement.
"A renter was walking on her landlord's wooden deck and she fell through the deck. My client ended up with a fractured arm, a few fractured ribs and a punctured lung. In this case the matter was settled out of court with the landlord's insurance company.
"Sometimes there may be multiple responsible parties involved. In this case my client fell on a sidewalk and the work area—where construction was going on—was uncovered. He actually fell into a hole in the ground.
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Faulty Construction Settlements
One man settled for $1.3 million after he slipped and fell in a public train station due to faulty construction of a handrail. An elderly man was paralyzed from the waist down when he fell through an unsecured hole on a construction site. That case settled for $6.8 million.
If you or someone you love has been injured or died as a result of faulty construction, an experienced Los Angeles construction accident attorney can help you determine whether you have a faulty construction case and who is responsible.