Do Home Warranties Cover Personal Injuries From Defective Home Designs in Pennsylvania?
Home warranties do not cover personal injuries from defective home designs in Pennsylvania. However, in some cases, homeowner’s insurance may pay for these injuries if they occur to a guest, and you are personally liable.
What Does a Home Warranty Cover?
A home warranty is a contract between homeowners and a company, covering the cost of household repairs due to wear and tear. Just like any other type of warranty, the person has to pay a certain annual fee which covers the cost of the service fee that they would have to pay for any repairs.
A home warranty cover typically covers major home appliances and systems, such as:
- Interior plumbing
- Water heater
- Air conditioning (sometimes optional)
- Garage door opener
- Garbage disposal
- Pool equipment (optional)
- Oven, range, or cooktop
- Refrigerator (sometimes optional, may exclude ice maker)
- Spa equipment (optional)
Whenever equipment malfunctions, you contact your home warranty provider to file a claim. The company will send their technician to assess the cause of damage and to determine if it is covered under your plan. The company will view the report and send a technician for repairs or replacement if the claim is approved. Homeowners only pay a small fee or deductible to cover the repairs or replacement, which usually range between $50 and $100.
Is Someone Liable If I Suffered Injury in a Recently Purchased Home?
Multiple parties can potentially be liable for an injury caused by a defect with a recently purchased home. Under “Pennsylvania Home Sellers: Disclosures Required Under State Law,” sellers must notify buyers of any material defects with the house in writing. Therefore, the seller can be liable for an injury caused by their negligent or fraudulent misrepresentation of the property. If the homeowner can prove their claim, they may be able to recover damages, including the costs of repairing the defect, or in some cases, reverse the sale of the home.
Other potentially liable parties include:
- The Selling Broker: If they knew or should have known about the concealed defect.
- The Home Inspector: If the inspector failed to discover the defect which was obvious and in their realm of professional knowledge but not so apparent that you should have seen it yourself before buying.
- Architect/Engineer: If the defect occurred in the design phase.
- Contractor/Subcontractor: If the defect resulted from their failure to follow design specifications while building the home.
Legal Grounds for a Defective Home Design Personal Injury Claim
Legal grounds for a defective home design personal injury claim can potentially be based on failure to disclose, negligence, fraud, breach of contract, breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation, or a combination of them. To determine whether you have a case, an attorney will typically consider the following:
- Was the defect there before you bought the home?
- Was the defect so obvious that you should have noticed it before purchasing the home?
- Was the defect not disclosed, or did someone intentionally lie about it?
- Did you rely on lies or nondisclosure when buying the house?
- Did you incur monetary damages as a result of the defect? (Costs of repairs, medical bills, lost income, etc.)
Lastly, an Philadelphia product liability attorney will have to see if your claim is still within Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations. There are deadlines under which claims must be brought that will depend on its grounds. If the deadline is missed, you will lose out on your opportunity to recover compensation. For example, victims have two years to file a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania, whereas claims based on breach of a construction contract must be brought within four years. In some cases, there are exceptions, so it is best to always consult a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer before giving up hope.