Architectural malpractice can have serious consequences, leading in some cases to the injury and death of innocent people. Even if somebody doesn’t get injured, however, negligent architecture can cause expensive structural problems and legal issues. Victims have the right to take action against architects who fail to live up to the professional standards they are expected to follow. At Stanfield Bechtel Law, we hold negligent architects accountable for their poor and sometimes dangerous work.
Common Examples of Architect Malpractice
Architecture is a complex field, which means there are many ways that architects can fail to deliver quality service to their clients. These are a few ways that architects can be negligent:
- Failing to be compliant with state and local building codes, regulations, and statutes
- Designing a structure in a way that makes it unsafe
- Causing a building or other structural collapse because of poor design
- Making gross errors in architectural planning including, for instance, designating which materials to use
- Disregarding the client’s reasonable instructions and requests
- Failing to adequately supervise others who are under the architect’s direction
- Breaching a contract, for example, by failing to complete the project on time
- Failing to retain the input of consultants or other experts, as needed
Poor architectural work can affect any type of project, from residential and commercial to industrial and government. And the consequences of such negligence can be devastating.
The Results of Architect Malpractice
Any of the above acts or omissions, along with others, can render a structure or some component thereof (e.g. a staircase) dangerously unstable. A partial or total collapse could cause serious injury to any number of individuals, who may incur significant losses such as:
- Medical expenses, including for hospitalization, surgery, adaptive medical equipment, and more
- Lost income and lost income-earning ability
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress
- Wrongful death damages if the victim dies from his or her injuries
In addition to the human toll that architect malpractice takes, it can result in substantial monetary losses as well. The cost to repair the damage or replace an entire structure or component could bring financial ruin to a property owner, contractor, or other party. The high costs associated with the above personal injury damages must also be borne by insurers and others.
How to Establish Liability in an Architect Malpractice Case
Professionals, including architects, are expected to abide by certain rules. This means using the skill and care that other architects commonly exercise In carrying out their work. If an architect does not follow the accepted standards of care, he or she can be held liable. The courts enforce the requirement that architects live up to their professional standards by allowing victims to take legal action when they fail.
To prove architectural malpractice in Connecticut, the victim (plaintiff in a lawsuit) must demonstrate these elements:
Duty of care. This means the architect owed the plaintiff a duty to conform to the specific standard of conduct that governs their industry. The duty of care is usually not in dispute, because all professionals are expected to follow certain rules, guidelines, and standards in the way they do their work.
Breach. A breach occurs when, due to some act or failure to act (like the examples listed above), the architect failed to live up to the duty of care. The alleged breach is often the most contested aspect of an architect malpractice lawsuit.
Causation. The causation element links the defendant architect’s breach with the plaintiff victim’s injuries. An intervening cause, or multiple defendants, could complicate this element.
Damages. Finally, the plaintiff must demonstrate that because of the breach, he or she suffered actual injury. These are known as damages and can vary in type and amount. Along with breach, this also tends to be highly disputed between the plaintiff and defendant.
Other Parties That May Be Held Liable
Architects are not the only individuals who are sued when negligent design work causes injury and loss. Engineers, construction contractors, and materials suppliers (among others) may also be held accountable in civil lawsuits. Our law firm works to identify all parties that may be named as defendants and seeks the maximum damages allowed by law.
How Stanfield Bechtel Law Can Help You
We understand the law, the rules of evidence, and the rules of civil procedure that apply to professional liability lawsuits, including those filed against architects and architectural firms. These cases generally require the input and testimony of expert witnesses, who are individuals with technical or specialized knowledge. These experts can explain to the court the applicable standard of care and how the defendant breached it. Expert witnesses can also explain the nature of the victim’s damages, including those that can be reasonably expected in the future.
Where possible, we work to settle lawsuits in favor of our clients. This involves working with the professional liability insurance company that insured the architect or other responsible party. If the insurance company will negotiate in good faith, we may be able to reach an out-of-court settlement that fairly compensates the victim. However, we are prepared to take a case in front of a jury if needed.
Contact Our Connecticut Architect Malpractice Attorney
You only have a limited amount of time to act on an architect malpractice lawsuit. The sooner you take action, the quicker you can obtain the damages you deserve to bring justice and closure to your claim. To learn more or to get started, connect with Stanfield Bechtel Law today.