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Contractors and Professional Negligence

   |  May 23, 2016

Basic Meaning of Professional Negligence

The term Professional Negligence is used very often, but not all of us know what it exactly means. Professional Negligence under the law means an act of negligence of an experts/professionals in the work and services delivered by them to their customers and clients. When a person calling him professional provides some work and services in consideration of some remuneration, he is under legal duty to perform the contracted work with due diligence and professional due care. Every day in the United States countless cases arise of disputes where clients being unsatisfied with the services rendered or work done by the contractors to them. The disputes may arise with professional like accountants, investigators, financial advisors, architects, consultants or any other professional field. Acts of professional negligence covers activities performed with attitude of carelessness affecting the quality of job and work to be delivered. It can be an act of breaking the rules, non-compliance with applicable laws and standards of work, mistreatment of the customers or otherwise failing to serve the clients’ best interests.

General Contractor and Its Responsibilities

A general contractor refers to a individual person, an organization or corporation who enters into agreement with another parties to undertake the construction projects of buildings, roads, bridges, renovations and so on. It is the main prime person of the in the construction project who is held responsible for any defects and shortcomings that are found in the project.

The general contractor provides the essential raw materials for the project and all the capital equipment needed for the project construction. It is normal for the general contractor to enter in agreements with further contractors, known as subcontractors. You can many companies who are experienced in this field and handle the work better than you. It is the duty of contractor to oversee and monitor the activities of sub-contractors.

 Professional Negligence in Respect of General Contractors

General contractors serving the construction industry owe an obligation to perform their duty and work that meet applicable standards and desired quality of the client. Normally, the work standard are defined in an agreement and contract, which also sets up the scope of the work to be done. The initiating point for any dispute about construction work is the document of contract between employer and contractor, which should clearly include clauses to set out the scope of the work involved, the labour cost, the construction materials, bills of quantities, time deadlines for the completion of project. The contract should also include late penalty clauses for over-running on the project and the work standards required.

Let’s see a typical example of professional negligence where a general contractor, who represents himself as an expert having experience and skills in the field of construction, is hired to handle a construction of 15 story building in the city within a time period of 1 year. The contractor then fails to manage the work to keep it on the planned track. The contractor also hired sub-contractors who were incompetent in the work of constructions and thereby failing to meet the quality standards of the work in progress. The owners were held responsible by legal authorities for breach of laws and ultimately resulting in demolishing of building. Here, the general contractor’s negligence has resulted the client incurring a heavy financial losses. In such circumstances there would be very strong case of professional neglect against the general contractor and the owners can pursue a claim of damages against them.

Further examples include;

  • A survey or failing to detect subsidence, prior to investing in a property resulting in considerable rectification costs for the owners.
  • Professional accountants and tax advisors fail to inform the client of new changes in laws resulting the client in breach of official laws.
  • A investment consultant misrepresenting the facts about particular stocks causing losses to the investor.
  • A professional valuer undervaluing a property, resulting in financial losses on the part of the seller.
  • Defrauding the employer by collusion with subcontractors.

In case of construction projects, there can be many cases in which there could be something wrong with the time deadlines and standard quality of the construction. Such engineers and contractors are held responsible for their professional negligence while providing the services.

Plumbing works involve all works relating to fittings of pipes and drainage in the site or home. Expert plumbers may also show negligence in performing their work. You my experience water leakage from pipes or water pipes may of lower quality.

General contractors provide solutions for roofing and flooring. It is their duty to ensure proper level of floors and smoothness of the floor tiles. Negligence on part of contractor can lead inappropriate balance of floor.

Obligation of General Contractors for Negligence

There is responsibility of the general contractor under the laws to carry out work by reasonable diligence and due care, with employing all the knowledge and skills that are employed by other ordinary contractors of the industry. The duty of care is extended to all such parties who may foreseeably be experience loss and damages by the construction defect. Subsequent party who purchase such property can also initiate claim for such negligence.

Fraud is suspected on the grounds that the contractor deliberately misrepresented the quality of work. It must be proved that the contractor had no intention of carrying out the design and specifications as agreed. Professional negligence is based on proving the contractor represented something as true, but had not factual information to believe the representation to be true.

Professional Negligence and Your Rights

If you find yourself in similar situation, having sustained financial losses, you may be legally entitled to initiate a negligence claim to recover the damages suffered. However, there are expert law firms that can help you to sort out whether you have a real claim of negligence

Professional negligence is a diverse and bit difficult term to define because it incorporate a diverse range of fields of expertise and a number of different and unique situations. Many factors are taken into the context while determining whether the general contractor is guilty of professional negligence.

As a general contactor you need to protect yourself from professional negligence with contractors liability insurance. To get a same day insurance qoute click here.

Published: March 18, 2015

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