If you purchase a new home or hire contractors to make substantial improvements to your home, you have several years to file a lawsuit if something goes wrong. As of the time of publication, Georgia law allows you to take legal action for up to eight years after construction of a home. However, depending on the type of lawsuit you wish to pursue, you may have to use a lesser statute of limitations of four or six years. Contact your attorney if you have problems with a newly constructed home or part of a home.
Eight Year Rule
As of teh time of publication, Georgia's statute of limitations for construction defects is eight years. This means that if you are injured in your home within eight years of it being built, you can sue the home builders for negligence if the accident occurred due to a construction defect. The eight-year rule goes into effect every time you make improvements to a piece of property. Thus, if you add an extra room to your home after living there for 25 years, you can still sue if construction defects occur within the next eight years.
Four Year Rule
In some cases, a claimant only has four years after making an improvement to a home to file a personal injury claim against the contractor who made the improvements. In 1994, the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that a homeowner could not sue for damages related to the installation of a fireplace because of two conflicting laws. Georgia has a four-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims of any nature. Thus, the Court of Appeals determined that the homeowner could not sue for personal injury damages after this statute of limitations expired even though the statue of limitations on construction defects had not expired.
Developers vs Contractors
As of the time of publication, Georgia homeowners may be able to sue both developers and contractors for construction defects. The developer is the original owner of land that hires a contractor to build on the land and subsequently sells the building to a homeowner. If the homeowner then discovers a defect, he may sue the developer for breach of contract within the eight year statute of limitations on construction defects, according to Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan. The statute of limitations for breach of contract lawsuits is six years as of 2011.
When to Contact an Attorney
Georgia's laws regarding construction defects and statutes of limitations is complex. Depending on the nature of the lawsuit and who you intend to sue, the statute of limitations may be four years, six years or eight years. Thus, if you discover serious problems after purchasing a newly built home or after making improvements to your home, contact your attorney. Your attorney can help you negotiate a settlement with a contractor or developer as well as help you figure out your options under the construction defect laws.