You probably hear a lot about ‘damages’ when it comes to attorneys and litigation. But what do damages really mean? There are two types of damages, actual and economic. Actual damages encompass physical injuries and property damage, while economic damages centralize around the cost of a repair that did not encompass a physical injury or lead to property damage.
A good example to think about both has to do with construction. Actual damages would consist of things like a bad roof that leads to water damage, or even a collapse that injures someone inside of the building. Economic damages would have to do with the actual cost of repairing or replacing the bad roof, aside form any other property damage or injury claims.
In 1998, the California Supreme Court said economic damages from construction defects are not able to be recovered in instances of negligence or strict liability. They made this ruling in Aas vs. Superior Court.
In response, the Right to Repair Act came into effect. The Act says homeowners in newly constructed housing can sue for economic damages if the residence did not meet certain construction standards.
The Act came into existence thanks to the work of legislators in California through SB 800. The intention of SB 800 was to mitigate the effects of the Aas decision.
Here’s a few facts about the Right to Repair Act to keep in mind.
It applies to all claims relating to construction defects
Homeowners also have the ability to file a claims related to personal injury, breach of contract, strict liability, and fraud, without having to adhere to the pre litigation stipulations spelled out in the Act.
It now covers more than just economic loss
A California Supreme Court Case in 2018 said the Act can now cover cases relating to property damage that arise out of defects related to construction.
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It is now the exclusive way to recover property damages that are related to construction defects
However, personal injury damages are still outside the scope of the Act and are not listed as a recoverable category.
Homeowners must still comply with the pre litigation procedures spelled out in the Act even if their construction defect is not specifically listed in the Act
The California Supreme Court, when taking on this question, said homeowners are not able to bypass the pre litigation procedures because the Act has a ‘catchall standard’ in addition to the specific construction standards that were listed.
The decision by the California Supreme Court was seen as a big win for builders, contractors, manufactures, and design professionals
This was because of a couple of reasons. First, the vast majority of claims still had to go through the pre litigation procedures as spelled out in the Act. It also substantiated that the Act still applied to construction defects that were not specifically laid out in the jargon and wording of the Act itself.
The Right to Repair Act might seem like a complicated piece of legislation. There’s an extensive amount of background that corresponds with how it’s interpreted and seen today. Overall, homeowners do reserve the right to bring claims, but usually still have to go through a pre litigation process, except in certain instances.
Do you have a question about the Right to Repair Act? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!