Expert Witnesses Can Be Instrumental at the Early Stages of a Dispute
When a serious flaw in construction or design becomes apparent, the question of blame is laid on the table and the ensuing debate over fault begins. The list of participants usually includes developers, contractors, sub-contractors, architects, designers, engineers, material suppliers, material manufacturers, and code enforcement personnel are sometimes in the mix.
Before anyone gets too much steam built up about a lawsuit, the prudent course of action is almost always to bring in an independent expert witness who is thoroughly familiar with all phases of construction.
It is essential to get an initial technical review done by an expert who will examine the site, review all plans, identify defects, review specs, building codes, materials, installation, workmanship, and supervision. And this is just phase one.
Only after this first phase is complete will the legal team have enough information about what direction to go, and whether to go forward at all. If there is no solid evidence there (sometimes that happens) it may be imprudent to move forward with depositions and finally a trial.
Mediation is often a cost-effective means to settle construction defect disputes, but even then an expert witness will usually point to the real cause of the defect and lead to an equitable settlement.
Why Hire an Engineer?
Building inspectors are a vital part of the real estate and appraisal process and can be very helpful in some areas involving the detection of defective materials or workmanship during construction. Other professionals involved in the trades are also helpful.
But when you are dealing with a very expensive defect and/or damage situation, a professional engineer has the education, experience, and credibility to be helpful in complex legal disputes.
Justin Hall, P.E. can be reached by calling 501-240-9213