The Rights of Subcontractors in Florida Construction Law

florida construction law

Sub-contractors on a construction project who have not been paid for the work the performed, per their contract, or who have been subject to negligence on the job resulting in injury, often have the right to recover.

Sub-contractors in binding contractual relations with a general contractor have the right to sue the other party for non-payment, and any other damages suffered on the job.

In circumstances in which a subcontractor has been injured on the job or subject to physical hazard, he or she may have a right to petition the court for the recovery of damages.

Who is the Responsible Party?  

Contractors in charge of construction work sites are accountable for communicating “usual hazards” for “incidental contingencies” that may lead to a safety hazard, Johnson v. Boca Raton Cmty. Hosp., Inc., 985 So. 2d 593, 596 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008).

Sub-contractors are owed forewarning of hazard by the general contractor who is the lead contracting party of a construction site project.

Duty to forewarn is a general contractor’s obligation to the extent that any intentional omission of known risks would be considered “wanton” or “willful” by a court.

Florida law specifies that property owners do not share fault for general contractor liability, Webb v. Priest, 413 So. 2d 43 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1982).

Exception to this rule is when an owner has knowledge that site activities are dangerous or prohibiting satisfactory performance by a contractor or sub-contractor; or owner duty is a condition of contract or legal imposition exists; or the general contractor is the acting authority on the project.

Defect Disputes can be Settled in Court   

According to Florida established case law, the duties of independent contractors are non-delegable, and liability cannot be deferred, Campbell v. Bellman, 293 So.2d 795.

The record of general contractor liability for defects and other physical conditions in cases where subcontractors have filed suit against a general contractor in Florida, show that negligence claims disputing responsibility for material performance are subject to factual determination by the court, Crawford v. Florida Steel Corp., 478 So.2d 855 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985).

Sub-Contractors can File a Negligence Claim

If a general contractor is sued by a subcontractor for construction negligence, there is an alleged breach of contract performance or duty to a professional standard of care.

Under Florida law, construction negligence claims are subject to comparative fault rules in court. Plaintiffs seeking remedy for non-payment or other negligence causes of action must establish the other party is liable for damages, Kayfetz v. A.M. Best Roofing, Inc., 832 So. 2d 784, 786 (Fla. 3d DCA 2002).

A licensed attorney specializing in personal injury and tort law litigation can assist a sub-contractor client with recovery of due compensation.

Personal Injury Law Firm

FL Legal Group is a licensed Florida attorney practice specializing in accident injury and tort litigation.

Call (813) 221-9500 or click here to contact FL Legal Group to schedule a consultation about a construction lien claim or negligence matter.


Right of Sub-Contractor to Sue Upper Tier Contractor, The National Law Review, Aug 14, 2018,


The 2018 Florida Statutes, Title XLV Torts, Chapter 768 Negligence, Section 768.81 Comparative Fault (Last visited, Aug 17, 2018),

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