Construction Disputes / Litigation
It is always a good idea to get a written estimate and contract so that both the property owner and the contractor know exactly the scope of the work to be performed as well as the materials to be used. This applies to both commercial and residential construction.
As a consumer or customer, you need to bear in mind that the contract is often prepared by the contractor and that most contractors have vast experience in preparing such contracts. Obviously, these contractors include language in the contracts that benefit or otherwise favor them, especially regarding materials, workmanship and disputes. Further, contractors often sign the contract without including any time constraints or deadlines to finish the job. They will start the job and then focus their efforts elsewhere knowing that there is not much you can do. You could try to find another contractor to finish the job, but most contractors won’t get involved with another contractors work for a number of reasons. First, they most certainly will not guarantee the work of the first contractor, and, for reasons relating to liability, they normally won’t build upon what the first contractor has done. Moreover, since virtually all contractors employ this strategy, they won’t want to intrude on another contractors business because they wouldn’t want another contractor to do that to them. You should have an experienced litigation attorney review your contract prior to signing it. It is also a good idea to do an internet search of the contractor to learn of his background, contact the Better Business Bureau to find out if there have been any complaints or investigations, and find out if the contractor is licensed and insured.
As a contractor, you are certainly aware of issues relating to liability for work that you, your employees and your subcontractors perform. Injuries can happen at construction sites. It is always a good idea to post warning signs and to cordon off dangerous areas. Despite your best efforts to maintain a construction site in a safe condition, accidents can happen, and you need quality legal representation to protect your rights and assets. Another concern is extending yourself beyond a periodic payment. In other words, you have done more work than you have been paid for by your customer, and your customer simply decides no to pay you. Now you should file a mechanic’s lien and pursue payment through the courts. A further problem that many contractors face are verbal change orders. Do yourself a favor, and get everything in writing to avoid the “he said, she said” scenario.
These are just a few of the problems that arise from construction projects. Contact our firm for a Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation to discuss the specifics of your situation.