Elements Of Design Professional Negligence In Florida
In the Florida construction sector, the role of the architect and other design professionals is a surprisingly powerful one. These individuals are in charge of taking the owner’s vision and transitioning it into images and plans, which serve as the foundation for the construction project’s concepts and structures. All work products created by architects must be safe and serve their designated function, so there are strict licensing and statutory requirements for design professionals under Florida law.
However, despite their education, training, and experience, these professionals are capable of mistakes. When they do, other parties to the construction contract can sustain economic losses; plus, certain errors expose contractors and the owner to property damage and personal injury claims. The good news is that state law provides legal remedies, and a Florida design professional liability lawyer can assist with pursuing them. There are four essential elements that you must prove to recover compensation for professional negligence, including:
- Duty: There must be a legal obligation owed by the engineer or other design professional to the party alleging misconduct. Usually, this duty arises out of the contract for the construction project. However, Florida courts have held that an obligation exists whenever a design professional creates plans and specifications that will be used for construction. As such, the individual may owe a duty to:
- The property owner;
- A construction project developer;
- The general contractor; and,
- A person who suffered injuries or financial loss on the property.
- Breach: It is also necessary to show that the architect or engineer breached the duty through a failure to provide services in accordance with the proper standard of care. This standard will vary, since it is based upon the level of skill and care typically provided by design professionals under similar circumstances. It may be negligence to deliver services that deviate from what a hypothetical architect would do.
- Causation: There must also be a causal connection between the design professional’s error and the losses for the aggrieved party, such that there would have been no damages but for the mistake. Liability will not attach without evidence showing that the harm was the direct, proximate result of the departure from the standard of care.
- Damages: The aggrieved party must suffer actual damages because of the design professional’s error, and the losses are typically economic in many cases. Often, the owner or contractor will incur labor and materials costs to correct the mistake. There may also be losses related to lost time and delays that directly resulted from design professional negligence. Evidence is critical for proving these losses.
Consult with a Palm Beach County Construction Law Attorney Today
This summary of the essential elements of a design professional negligence claim is useful, but there are numerous details involved with seeking your remedies. Our lawyers at Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. are knowledgeable about the laws and experienced with protecting the interests of aggrieved parties. Please contact our firm today at 561-626-8880 or go online to schedule a consultation at our offices in Jupiter, FL.