If you’ve just bought a new property and happily moved in, the last thing you’d expect is for a mishap.
But then, all of a sudden, a fluorescent lamp falls onto your head as you’re walking to your unit!
You’re badly injured and want to take legal action, but you don’t know how, and who to sue. Worry not, we’ve got you covered with this helpful guide so that you can get the compensation you deserve.
Guess what, you CAN sue the property developer!
At the outset, you’ll have cause of action to sue whoever it was that caused the defect in the property, resulting in the lamp falling on you.
As you’ve purchased the property straight from the developer – who just handed the vacant possession
to you – the first person you can go after is normally the developer.
One such clause is the ‘Workmanlike Manner’, which is a term that describes an industry standard of "the desired and acceptable standard of quality of work and materials on a construction project".
Therefore, the property must be inspected and declared fit and safe for human occupation, before the developer actually allows you onto the premises.
Safe to say, you can actually sue that developer for breach of the SPA!
Besides that, you can also raise the cause of action – that the developer has been negligent in building the property.
And ultimately, that was what caused the fluorescent lamp to fall and injure you.
But, how is it that I’m allowed to sue the developer?
Well, as a property developer, they owe you a duty to exercise due care in the property construction process.
They would need to develop the project according to the approved plans, so that the property is safe for living in.
As the damage is not only done to the property (having the defect), but also causing personal injury to you (their customer), you can claim against the developer for losses incurred.
Some examples of these claims include the repair costs, medical costs, and your loss of earning (in the event you’re not able to work).
You can also get the court to order the developer to repair the defect to the property, in this case, the corridor lighting.
Apart from the developer, you can also consider suing other parties whom you think their actions or oversight caused the defect in the property, resulting in the lamp falling on you.
The potential ones could be the architects, engineers, or contractors for the development project.
You’ll need to prove your case against each party, thus, finding the cause of the lamp falling will help you to identify the parties responsible for it.
However, if the defect is due to renovation works carried out by your own contractors at your instructions, then you may not win your case against the developer and other parties.
After all, it was you gave the instructions to renovate, which then affected a certain part of the property!
In conclusion, if you suffer a personal injury due to the defect in your new home, you would be able to sue whoever responsible in causing your injury.
Allen Khor is an advocate & solicitor in Messrs Allen Khor & Partners. His areas of practice include conveyancing, civil litigation, divorce, probate and administration. The telephone number of the firm is 012-283 0656.
*This column is for your information only and does not constitute legal advice for your specific needs. It cannot disclose all of the risks and other factors necessary to evaluate a particular situation. You should seek and obtain independent legal or professional advice for your specific needs and situation.