Contractor Damages in California

What To Do When A Contractor Damages Your Property in California

Updated on June 5, 2024

Your home is your castle, but when a contractor damages it with their work, the sense of violation can be overwhelming.

Whether it’s a botched renovation, a cracked foundation, or water damage from shoddy workmanship, dealing with the aftermath can be stressful.

As a homeowner in California, it’s crucial to know your rights to ensure you are not left with the financial burden of repairing the damage. Continue to read this comprehensive guide to help you navigate this challenging situation.

Defining Contractor Damages in California:

Contractor damage can encompass a wide range of issues, from cosmetic blemishes to structural problems. It includes any harm that affects the appearance, functionality, or value of your property.

In California, contractors are generally liable for damage caused by their work, including subcontractors they hire.

Spotting Contractor Liability Avoidance Tactics

Some contractors may try to evade responsibility by downplaying the damage, claiming it was pre-existing, or suggesting it’s within acceptable limits.

They might also delay inspections, refuse to acknowledge the damage, or disappear altogether. These are red flags indicating potential avoidance tactics.

Differences Between Insured and Uninsured Contractors

An insured contractor carries liability insurance, which can cover damages caused by their work. This insurance provides protection for both the contractor and the homeowner in case of accidents.

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On the other hand, an uninsured contractor does not have this coverage, meaning you may be left to cover the costs of damages if they occur. Read our blog explaining the importance of hiring an insured contractor.

Remember, in order to have a valid license in California the contract is supposed to have a contractor’s bond, which provides an additional avenue for recovery against the contractor.

This what people to refer to as taking action on the bond.

Immediate and Long-Term Actions to Take

Immediate Actions:

  • Document the damage thoroughly, including photos and videos.
  • Notify the contractor in writing immediately.
  • Review your contract for clauses related to damages and liability.
  • Consider seeking advice from an attorney experienced in California’s contractor laws.

Long-Term Actions:

  • Avoid making repairs before the contractor or another expert can assess the damage.
  • Don’t accept a quick settlement without ensuring it covers all damages.
  • Avoid delaying action, as there are time limits for filing claims or disputes under California law..

Steps to Protect Your Interests from Contractor Damages

  • Hire a Licensed and Insured Contractor: Ensure you hire a licensed contractor with a valid insurance policy.
  • Detailed Contracts: Have a detailed contract that clearly defines the scope of work and the contractor’s liability for damages. Include time limits for job completion and incentives for timely work.
  • Payment Tied to Completion: Tie payments to the completion of work and satisfactory inspections.
  • Lien Releases: Get lien releases from subcontractors and material suppliers as you make payments.
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Seeking Damages from Contractor Damages:

  • Repair Costs: You can seek compensation for the cost of repairing the damage.
  • Diminished Property Value: If the damage reduces the value of your property, you can claim compensation for the diminished value.
  • Additional Expenses: Additional expenses incurred due to the damage, such as temporary accommodation, can also be claimed.

How an Attorney Can Help:

  • Legal Expertise: An attorney can provide legal expertise and interpret California’s complex contractor laws.
  • Negotiation: They can negotiate with the contractor or their insurance company on your behalf.
  • Representation in Court: If necessary, they can represent you in court to seek damages and ensure your rights are protected under California law.

In conclusion, knowing your rights as a homeowner in California and taking prompt action can help protect your interests when dealing with property damage caused by a contractor.

Should you find yourself in such a situation, seeking legal advice from a Los Angeles Construction attorney familiar with California’s laws can be invaluable in ensuring you receive fair compensation for the damage to your property.

At Schorr Law, we understand the full scope of California law as it relates to real estate for both residential and commercial property.

Should you find your home or business in a jam, contact our office today and schedule a consultation with our attorneys. Call us at 310-954-1877, or use our online form here to send us a message.

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