Recently, the Virginia Supreme Court addressed an appeal stemming from personal injuries a family suffered when mold developed in their new home. The family filed a lawsuit against the construction company that built their house and later unsuccessfully tried to remediate the mold. The family claimed that the company failed to act “skillfully, carefully, diligently, in a good, workmanlike manner,” and that the company’s conduct deviated from acceptable standards. The family further contended that the company’s negligence forced them to abandon the home because of the various physical symptoms that the mold exposure had on the family. The lower court dismissed the family’s claims, and the family appealed the ruling based on breach of contract, negligent construction, negligent repair, and negligence per se.
Under Virginia law, home occupants who wish to bring a personal injury claim against a home builder can sue based on various causes of action. Some common causes of actions include contract disputes, tort claims, warranty breaches, strict liability, and fraud. Virginia statute of limitations imposes a 5-year time limit to file contract dispute and property damage lawsuit and two years for a personal injury lawsuit against a home builder.
Challenges arise when the tortious conduct causes injury after the new owners take occupancy of the home. In these situations, Virginia law requires recovery only if “peculiar circumstances” establish that the construction company’s negligent acts created an imminent or inherent danger. When the tortious act does not cause an immediate threat to the injured party, the builder is only liable to the party with whom they contracted. In these cases, the plaintiff must meet the “source-of-duty” rule. This means that home builders are only liable for misfeasance and malfeasance, not for nonfeasance. Nonfeasance occurs when a party fails to act even when a duty to act exists. Misfeasance is when a party wrongfully performs a lawful act. Finally, malfeasance occurs when a party engages in an unlawful, or dishonest act.
In this case, the court found, amongst other things, that construction company engaged in misfeasance by worsening the mold condition and aggravated the family’s preexisting personal injuries. The court ultimately remanded the case for further rulings.
Have You Suffered Injuries Because of a Negligent Virginia Construction Company?
If you or a loved one suffered injuries after moving into a newly constructed Virginia home, you should contact the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Robinson Law. The attorneys at our law firm understand the emotional, physical, and financial toll that Virginia construction defects can have on a person and their family. Our diligent injury lawyers can help you understand your rights and remedies. Virginia construction defect cases may present various challenges due to the complex laws and strict statutes of limitation that apply in these cases, so it is essential to contact an attorney on our team to help you get the compensation you deserve. Compensation may include payments for medical expenses, relocation costs, property damage, and pain and suffering. Contact Robinson Law today to schedule a free consultation with a Virginia personal injury attorney at 703-542-4008.