I got called to inspect a new home in a community and it had some cracked trusses that got written up. They told their neighbor… same thing… few cracked trusses… told the next neighbor… he had 2 truss webs cracked completely in half and a peak post completely cracked in half. So… I now have 4 more attic inspections because of that. The builder has already had one unit (I didn’t inspect that one) that the kitchen ceiling started sagging and caving in. It’s literally 6 months old. I’m not sure what it takes to get a class action lawsuit rolling but I know some of my clients have been discussing it.
I’m only a year and a half into being an inspector…
My question: Is there anything I need to do to be proactive about protecting myself legally? (Aside from my liability and E&O) On the off chance the national builder with deep pockets brings me into this? And can they bring me into this?
This is obvious stuff I’m writing in a report. I’m not picking apart some small stuff. Just want to make sure I’m doing what I’m suppose to in this situation.
Don’t promote legal action to the clients. Be the inspector only, the outside expert. Let the client(s) decide the next step on their own.
Yes, I’m sure you feel sorry for them. But maintain your professional standing.
If you get pulled in to a lawsuit, your liability insurance is your protection. They will have an attorney to protect their/your liability interests.
As an addition, you may be called to court as an expert witness, to state what you saw. Maintain your records. Charge for your court time.
I just carry general liability and E/O insurance. Finding things like crack trusses will keep you in business. I found one today on my 12 month warranty and the builder happened to be in the house at the time. While he was in the attic space with me I went over the improperly installed gas pipe, back graded flue pipe, missing gas sediment trap, back graded condensate drain, broken B vent elbow, electric feed for the interior of the air handler was missing the electrical box and finally combustible materials all over the interior of the air handler.
Just keep fight fighting the good fight, neighbors will talk they get on social media you’ll stay busy forever. Let these guys who are scrapping for real estate agents do their thing.
Thank you! I haven’t discussed any legal action with them. Some of them just mentioned that might be a thing. I’m just trying to keep business rolling and make sure I’m not doing anything that can come back and bite me.
They really have no case against you for finding the problem so I wouldn’t be too concerned. Not to say some bottom-feeder attorney wouldn’t try but it’s doubtful as it would just be a waste of their time.
Be sure not to suggest a cure. Just what you observed and further evaluation by a structural engineer. Sounds like you are earning your keep.
The only people who end up making money from a class action lawsuit are the lawyers for the plaintiffs and defendants. Why? Because the suit is designed as a punishment for the defendant rather than indemnification for the plaintiff. By the time the fees and costs are deducted and the remaining amount of the settlement is divided among the suing parties (if there is an award), the amount each plaintiff receives is quite small.
Best to direct them to the local building department. Let them handle the legal/code/repair issue.