Investigators believe that a construction defect caused a gas explosion in New Jersey that left one person dead, sixteen injured, and one missing.
The blast took place on the second floor of a two-family home on Magnolia Avenue in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and several area residents told authorities that they smelled gas in the neighborhood just prior to the explosion. When first responders arrived, they attended to seventeen people who were trapped in the rubble. One man, whose name was withheld, was pronounced dead at the scene. Sixteen others, including an 11-year-old girl, were rushed to local hospitals with various injuries. Authorities are still looking for another person, who was either trapped under the rubble or not home at the time.
Three structures must be demolished as a result of the explosion: two were almost totally destroyed and the third had all its windows blown out.
The implied warranty of habitability comes into play whenever there are issues with a new house or other residence, and the defect does not need to be extreme. Once, courts applied a “constructive move-out” test, meaning that the problem had to be so severe that it rendered the residence completely unlivable. Now, however, courts that are more pro-consumer and anti-builder are likely to find a breach of warranty in many circumstances.
To win damages, a plaintiff must prove:
- Purchase of a new home,
- The seller was engaged in the business of selling new homes, and
- The defect makes the home unfit for living.
For example, a serious water leak that causes expensive foundation damage probably voids the implied warranty, but a slight water leak or some other workmanship defect might not render the structure uninhabitable.
Builders often try to avoid liability actions by sneaking a waiver into the sales documents. While the law requires that such waivers be clear and understandable, it is easy to miss them in the mass of paperwork involved in a home purchase. So, it is best to have an attorney carefully review closing documents.
In addition to property damage, victims may also be entitled to compensation for their pain, suffering, and other non-economic damages.
For prompt assistance in this area, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Manhattan. If you were injured, you have a limited amount of time to act.