Updated: May 29
If you are considering suing a contractor for faulty construction or housing code violations in the District of Columbia, there are a few steps you will need to follow.
Determine the appropriate court: If the amount you are suing for is less than $5,000, you can file your lawsuit in the Small Claims and Conciliation Branch of the Superior Court. If the amount you are suing for is more than $5,000, you will need to file your lawsuit in the Civil Division of the Superior Court.
Prepare your case: Before you can file a lawsuit, you will need to gather evidence to support your claim. This may include photos or videos of the faulty construction or housing code violations, estimates for repairs, and any other relevant documents.
File your lawsuit: To file your lawsuit, you will need to fill out the appropriate court forms and pay the required filing fees. You will also need to serve the contractor with a copy of the lawsuit.
Attend court: After you have filed your lawsuit, you will need to attend court on the date of the hearing. You may want to consider hiring an attorney to represent you in court.
The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit based on housing code violations in the District of Columbia is three years from the date the violation was discovered or should have been discovered, as outlined in the District of Columbia Code, Title 12, Chapter 3, Section 309. This means that you have three years from the date you became aware of the violation to file a lawsuit.
In addition to these steps, it is important to note that general contractors in the District of Columbia are required to carry liability insurance to protect against claims for property damage or personal injury that may occur during the course of their work. The amount of insurance that a general contractor is required to carry will depend on the type of work they are performing and the terms of their contract.
According to the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, general contractors who are performing work on a project with a contract price of $300,000 or more must carry liability insurance with a minimum coverage of $500,000 per occurrence and $1,000,000 in the aggregate, as outlined in the District of Columbia Code, Title 34, Chapter 17, Subchapter II, Section 34-1761.01. For contracts with a price of less than $300,000, the minimum insurance requirements are $300,000 per occurrence and $600,000 in the aggregate.
If you have any concerns about a contractor's insurance coverage, it is a good idea to discuss them with the contractor and/or consult with an attorney. If you believe that a general contractor is operating without the required insurance, you can report them to the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs by contacting the agency by phone or by filling out an online complaint form on their website.
Suing a contractor can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it may be necessary if you have suffered damages as a result of faulty construction or housing code violations. By following the steps outlined above and seeking the assistance of an attorney, you can increase your chances of success in your lawsuit.
This is not legal advice, if you have a question regarding faulty construction or housing code violations in D.C., please schedule a consultation with our office by calling (202) 499-2403 or 1 (833) CALLJKW (225-5559).