Spoilage of Evidence Can Destroy a Construction Defect Claim


Matthew Furlong of Först Consulting Group inspecting a client’s home.

When you are involved in a legal dispute, your case depends upon the evidence that can either back up or dispute your defense. Spoilage of evidence can destroy a construction defect claim.

If you are a homeowner who claims that your contractor has screwed up the job, you have several recourses. You can discuss the problem with the contractor and request that the issue be resolved to your satisfaction. Or you can take the claim to court. In either case, you need to prove that there is an actual problem or that negligence took place, resulting in the construction defect.

On the other hand, if you are a contractor in the same situation, you can defend your side of the issue with evidence that you did, indeed, perform the job correctly, to specifications and codes, and that the workmanship was sufficient.

How Do You Gather Evidence in a Construction Defect Claim?

One way to gather evidence is to hire an independent inspector—one specializing in construction defects. This inspector will visually inspect the issue, take photographs, cite any violations, and create a detailed report of his or her findings. This report can be entered into evidence in a legal dispute and may well serve as the foundation of your entire case.

In addition, your independent inspector can also serve as your expert witness, should your legal claim require one for deposition or in-court testimony. Their expertise, knowledge of the construction industry and accumulated evidence will provide the third-party endorsement of your claim you need.

Spoilage of Evidence

It is extremely important that the evidence remain in the condition it was when the issue was addressed. It must be proven that either damage or negligence is apparent. Attempts to alter the evidence or fix the damage will likely destroy your claim.

Evidence can be spoiled in a number of ways. The contractor can attempt to cover it up or can fix the problem altogether. The homeowner can attempt to make the damage worse in order to create more of an issue, called tampering with the evidence. Even outside conditions can spoil evidence. If the bathroom floor is in question and a pipe bursts and floods the bathroom, for example, it may destroy any existing evidence.

Spoilation of evidence most often occurs when one of the parties realizes that there is pending litigation, and they attempt or succeed in destroying evidence or fail to preserve it. This can impede the ability of the claimant to establish evidence of the claim and can cast a shadow over the defendant as well.

Related: Emergency Repairs: Are you Destroying the Evidence?

When Do You Gather Evidence for a Construction Claim?

The best time to gather evidence for a construction claim is when it is first spotted. Take photographs of the problem from all angles, and in good light. Research construction practices and building codes to have knowledge of what is and what is not acceptable. It might be best to call in a neutral third party to help corroborate your claim—a construction expert, like Först Consulting Group.

As a construction expert, Först specializes in helping homeowners, contractors, attorneys and insurance companies gather the evidence they need to win their cases. We can provide consulting services, construction defect inspections, detailed reporting and documentation, and litigation support in expert witness and expert testimony services. We can only represent one side of each case, however. Keep spoilage of evidence from occurring by bringing in a neutral professional inspector early.

Related Post: How to Find a Construction Expert Witness

Construction Defect Cases are Won or Lost on Evidence. Trust Först Consulting Group.

When you need to win your case, you need hard evidence. Evidence that Först Consulting Group can provide. Serving clients in Northern Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and nationwide. Contact Först Consulting Group.


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