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Damages in Construction Litigation for your In-Home Addition


I have been getting lots of calls from discouraged home owners who have had issues with their general contractor on in-home addition projects such as a deck or a garage. These home owners want to know what damages are generally available to them in a breach of contract civil law suit against the contractor for his failure to adequately complete the work contracted for.

The primary elements in computing potential damages in your breach of contract claim against the construction company consist of the cost to complete the project as well as damages for delays. Home owners, you are entitled to get what you bargained for, which means 1) a completed, well-constructed project; 2) at the cost that you agreed to pay for it; and 3) in the time that you requested it. Therefore, the property owner is entitled to recover damages in order to make that bargained-for position happen. For example, say you contracted to construct a new screen porch in your home for $40,000.00, you have paid $30,000.00 to the contractor, and it will require $20,000.00 to complete the work with a new contractor. You are entitled to approximately $20,000.00 as your cost to complete; that is the amount of money that you would require to have ended up spending $40,000.00 on your new porch. Additionally, if the project was off-schedule, you may be entitled to additional damages for the delay in completion.

Other potential damages for owners relate to loss of use, lost profits, cost of repair and the dimunition in value of the property. These are less common methods of computing damages, but they may be applicable to your specific situation.

Now, home owners, be wary of the contractor raising counterclaims against you in your civil litigation. For example, the contractor could pursue damages for delays in completing the work caused by the homeowner’s hindrance. As we’ve discussed in previous blog, construction contracts are generally vague and just consist of signatures on the proposal. But if the contract is more detailed, look for provisions regarding damages for delay caused by the owner. Those types of provisions can be enforceable against the home owners.

Homeowners, when a home repair job goes wrong, understand what rights are available to you against the contracting company. Contact Maginnis Law, PLLC for a consultation to speak to a construction lawyer regarding your home. Maginnis Law, PLLC is a Raleigh civil litigation firm taking cases in Cary, Apex, Clayton, Wake Forest and other areas with significant home building development in the Triangle area. Contact the firm at 919.526.0450 or visit our website at www.maginnislaw.com to schedule a time to speak with a construction attorney about your potential civil law suit.

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