Can house painters be held financially responsible for damage caused by them?

UPDATED: Aug 18, 2011

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Can house painters be held financially responsible for damage caused by them?

Exterior house painters failed to prep my house properly and 6 months later large and small pealing bubbles developed over 3/4 of the house. Painter refunded check and stipulated when check is cashed he would no longer be obligated under his warranty. Due to the damage, the house now needs to be entirely scraped, lead paint precautions enforced and repainted at the cost of approx. $5000. Do I have legal recourse in this situation?

Asked on August 18, 2011 Colorado


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the painter(s) for negligence.  Negligence is based on the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care in this case that a reasonable painter would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  In order to prove negligence, you will need to prove duty (of due care mentioned above), breach of duty (failure to exercise due care), actual cause, proximate cause, and damages.

Actual cause means but for the painters not prepping the house properly, would the house have been damaged? If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, you have established actual cause.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable intervening events which would relieve the painters of liability?  If the answer is no, you have established proximate cause.

Damages means the amount you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit for negligence against the painters.  Your damages would be the $5000 cost of repairs to the house.

You will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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