Below is a listing of actual lawsuits that we’ve received in our office over the past 10 years. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Many of the lawsuits that we’ve seen filed against our builder clients were legitimate, but many others were frivolous or asked for outrageous damage amounts that were way out of proportion with reality.
One lawsuit filed against one of our builder clients who performed a relatively simple $60,000 fire restoration job asked for $6,000,000 in damages. Thankfully, the court dismissed the lawsuit, but the legal defense fees were in the $100,000 range.
Also, some of the examples represent construction defect lawsuits. These lawsuits used to be covered, in many cases in their entirety by the General Liability policy. However, due to the carriers taking heavy losses as a result of the construction defect crisis, most of the carriers started to either partially or totally excluding these types of claims from coverage.
Some of the carriers are now offering coverage buybacks for an additional premium charge. Current coverage for construction defect is dependent on the policy form.
While construction is in progress (prior to the closing of the sale):
- child trespasser fell down unguarded stairs
- worker digging with backhoe severed utility cable
- worker using heavy equipment threw out spark causing forest fire
- worker using tractor pinned worker of subcontractor against building
- sand from job site washed onto neighbor’s property
After construction completed:
- disappearing staircase collapsed resulting in bodily injury
- balcony railing collapsed resulting in bodily injury
- faulty plumbing resulted in leak and resulting water damage to house and contents
- faulty electrical wiring resulted in fire damage to house and contents
- faulty siding and flashing installation resulted in water damage to house
- faulty installation resulted in buckling of floors
- deck collapsed and resulted in bodily injury to six people