Defective property conditions can be found in homes and commercial spaces, their adjacent outdoor spaces, and even on large, unused parcels of land. The dangers that these areas pose aren’t always obvious to the naked eye.
We’ll define what a defect is in more generic terms below before delving a bit deeper into examples of defective property conditions and why they are dangerous. We’ll then discuss the dangers they pose and wrap this discussion up by providing you with insight into your options if dangerous premises leave you with an illness or injuries.
What Is a Defect?
Individuals in the construction industry refer to a defect as any situation in which there’s a lack of conformity to one or more requirements when a property was created.
Defects can be structural in nature, affecting a property, support beams or framing or affect a structure’s floors, roof, or walls. Defects can also affect a building’s systems, such as its plumbing or heating.
A property’s defects can lead to bigger problems if left unaddressed. Some bigger concerns that may arise out of what were originally small property-related concerns include foundation damage, mold growth, or electrical hazards.
Hazards like these can endanger your life.
Defective Property Conditions You May Encounter
Real estate prices have skyrocketed in recent years. This trend has forced many individuals to take possession of less-desirable, pre-owned rentals and commercial units than they perhaps would have during previous times. Consumers who can afford to purchase properties are increasingly finding that properties are in inferior condition compared to what used to be the case.
Consumers have to worry about the safety of their premises more than ever now. There are labor shortages in every industry, and building material prices are high. Home sellers and landlords are undoubtedly taking shortcuts in keeping their properties safe to keep their profits high.
Some of the more common shortcuts landlords may take that could result in defective property conditions that could endanger your life include not addressing:
Most roof issues stem from an accumulation of water. As water seeps into cracks in shingles or around seams, it will weaken them over time until it can no longer support heavy loads like snow and ice during winter months.
A tell-tale sign of roof damage is discoloration or curling at the edges of shingles. A landlord should consider replacing damaged shingles right away to minimize further damage. Materials and labor can be costly, though, which explains why many landlords avoid making these repairs.
Waterlogged roofs can cave in under the right circumstances, causing individuals inside to become crushed or smothered.
Mold and Other Toxin Growths
A variety of scenarios, including leaking pipes, faulty gutters, improper ventilation, or high humidity levels are the perfect breeding ground for mold and other harmful respiratory hazards to grow.
The spores produced by mold can cause serious health problems if inhaled regularly. This is especially true for asthma or allergy sufferers since these individuals’ immune systems are already weakened.
However, even healthy people can develop respiratory infections when exposed to mold regularly. You may notice that your health progressively declines the longer you stay in a toxic environment such as this.
Water damage can come from various sources, including burst pipes, leaks from appliances, or rainwater seeping through windows and doors. If left untreated, water damage will continue to grow until it encompasses an entire structure. Even small amounts of water can cause significant structural damage resulting in defective property conditions like warped floors and buckling walls.
Issues like these may not only give way to mold growth, but deteriorate the structural integrity of ceilings, floors, and walls, making them more likely to cave in on inhabitants inside or for you to fall through to a lower level.
Termites are responsible for billions of dollars in property damage in North America alone every year. They tend to hover in low-lying areas like basements and crawl spaces, where the most important structural components holding up a home or a commercial building are located. Since they live off wood, you run the risk of the structure around you caving in or you falling on or through a faulty floor if termites are left to feed without a landlord calling a pest control service to exterminate them.
Proving That a Property Condition Is Defective
You may be able to hold a property’s previous owner or landlord liable if their failure to adequately maintain safe premises has left you injured. You can prove defects existed by having an inspection performed on the space you occupy.
Inspectors are trained to assess for structural and health hazards (among other things). They can inspect a building to see what failures, flaws, or defects may have caused your injuries.
You’ll want to have any insight the inspector has documented in writing so that you can cite it when filing an insurance claim or pursuing a premise liability lawsuit.
While it doesn’t prove that a Marion, IL property was defective, you’ll also want to preserve any documentation such as a rental contract or lease establishing a connection between you, a property, and its owner.
You should also preserve any documentation you may obtain from seeing a doctor. These records and receipts will help you establish a connection between the dangerous property conditions and your injuries and come in handy when making a demand for compensation in your case.
How an Attorney Plays Into Your Premise Liability Case
It’s important to remember that time is of the essence when filing any insurance claims or civil lawsuits. You must move quickly to preserve evidence and protect your right to pursue legal action in your case.
Many of the injury incidents described above can result in catastrophic falls and other personal injury incidents. A slip and fall lawyer will know how to help you recover compensation when someone else’s negligence left you hurt. Schedule a no-risk initial meeting with our Prince Law Firm attorneys today.