When you take on a construction project, you take on the risk of disputes with clients, subcontractors, and other relevant entities. A client might be dissatisfied with your work, expecting more than you’re able to produce. A subcontractor might accidentally burst a water pipe and blame you for inadequate project information. These disputes could resolve with negotiations, but when large amounts of money or time is at stake, a construction attorney familiar with your local and state laws will be needed.
Below are a few common types of construction law disputes you could face.
If a client accuses you of breaching your contract or leaving it unfulfilled, you could try negotiating with them. Some clients are willing to drop the dispute for additional services or repairs without extra cost. However, if the client demands something that would cost more time or money than you’re willing to lose, you should reach out to a general consultant who specializes in construction litigation. They will thoroughly investigate the contract, project status, and determine the best approach to solve the dispute.
Disputes about who is responsible for damage caused during construction are quite common. Your contact might free you of responsibility from damage caused by subcontractors, but it might not be as clear cut as pointing fingers at a specific person. Subcontractors might point at suppliers for providing low quality materials, while the property owner might point at you, the general contractor, for failing to hire someone of ideal skill.
Depending on the project scope, your dispute might also extend to suppliers, manufacturers, or others involved with your project. You might face accusations from multiple people, making for a complicated resolution process. Indemnity clauses might be simply stated on contract, but in action they can be complicated to unravel without legal help.
With all construction projects comes the risk of collection disputes, including payment collection, construction liens, and stop notices. Clients might refuse to pay because of what they believe is subpar work, or they might challenge you on unforeseen extra costs. If you respond with a construction lien, locking down their property title until they pay you, they might take you to court. Avoid the inconvenience of defending your construction lien in court by negotiating with the client, offering longer payment periods or additional services if they pay in full.
Construction can be dangerous even when following state laws and regulations. You or your subcontractors could follow every guideline and fall victim to a tool malfunction or take a violent tumble off a ladder or rooftop. Accidents could also happen to property owners or people near the construction zone. Your liability clauses can guide you through a proper response, but you could still face challenges in court. You could be sued for negligence, improper construction, or anything that makes you legally responsible for injury or damage.
It’s safest to navigate disputes with an experienced construction attorney
If you need assistance with a construction law dispute, call Alves Radcliffe, LLP at 916-333-3375 or send us an email. We have over 25 years of combined experience, and serve clients throughout Greater Sacramento, Northern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.