Appeals, Appellate Courts, and Cost - Alves RadCliffe

Appeals, Appellate Courts, and Cost

What is an Appeal?

An appeal represents the legal process that involves asking an appellate court to review a decision made by a judge during a civil trial. The appellate attorney files an appeal not to initiate another civil trial, but instead, to make the case that the judge who heard the arguments during the civil trial made one or more mistakes concerning the law. One party that files the appeal is called the appellant, while the party that faces an appeal is called the appellee. The court that hears an appeal is called the appellate court or the court of appeals.

You can file an appeal only after your case has established a final ruling, although there are a few exceptions to the rule. The few exceptions include filing an “interlocutory appeal,” which appeals a decision issued by a judge during an ongoing case. Appealing a trial court decision does not stop the decision from going into effect. You must follow the decision issued by the judge who heard your case until your appeal is resolved.

An appeal is not a legal process that allows you to introduce new evidence. The appellate judges hearing an appeal review the record of what transpired during the civil trial.

What Does an Appellate Court Do?

The procedures followed by an appellate court establish the legal foundation for reviewing the decision issued by the judge hearing the original civil lawsuit. For both state and federal jurisdictions, the result of an appeal is considered the final judgment of a civil case unless the appellate court committed a basic judicial error or violated the United States Constitution.

Legal issues surrounding an appeal involve the legal briefs written by the attorneys representing each party. The legal briefs list several questions, as well as present the legal arguments in support of the positions taken by the plaintiff and the defendant. As the plaintiff in an appeal of a lower court’s decision, your appellate attorney files an appeal with a court that is part of the same judicial system in which the initial civil lawsuit received consideration.

Appellate courts follow one of two standards when reviewing what transpired during a civil trial. The abuse of discretion standard requires an appellate court to reverse the decision made by a civil judge only if, in light of the applicable law and considering all the relevant circumstances, the trial court’s decision exceeds the bounds of reason and results in a miscarriage of justice. An appellate court also can discover an abuse of discretion when the civil trial judge issued a decision on a mistaken finding of fact.

If an appellate court applies the “de novo” standard, the appellate court does not defer to the decision issued by the civil trial judge. The appellate court determines the appropriate ruling to issue and applies the ruling as part of the appeal decision. Appellate courts typically follow the De Novo standard when determining issues of law.  Of the two standards, the De Novo standard is considered the best way to appeal a civil verdict because it’s a “brand-new” look at the case.

What Are the Costs Associated with an Appeal?

The cost of an appeal depends on several factors such as the amount of time to review the underlying trial materials, obtaining a trial transcript, the number of issues to appeal from, whether the issues are novel or complex, and the attorney’s time to prepare the appeal and attend oral argument. Ask your appellant lawyer during the case evaluation for a cost estimate for filing an appeal.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Appellate Attorney

If you need assistance, 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.

What Are The 3 Possible Outcomes of An Appeals Court Decision - Alves RadCliffe

What Are The 3 Possible Outcomes of an Appeals Court Decision?

An appeal does not represent another trial that introduces additional evidence in front of a different judge. The appeal process typically focuses on disputed issues of law. A panel of appellate judges can affirm the original decision, which means the decision issued by the original judge or verdict issued by the jury stands as the final judgment. Appellate judges can reverse the decision or verdict. Finally, an appellate court may modify the trial court’s decision and send the case back to the trial court to be re-tried in conformance with the appellate judges instructions on an issue. 

Either party involved in a civil dispute can file an appeal based on one or more issues of law. However, the party filing an appeal must have a valid legal reason for an appeal, such as discovering an alleged material error during the original trial.

How Do I Know If I Can File an Appeal?

You have to meet certain requirements to be eligible to file an appeal.  Your attorney must prove a procedural, evidential, or legal application error. The error must have influenced the outcome of the civil trial.  Moreover, your attorney had to object to the error for it to become preserved in the trial court for future reference. An appellate attorney will review the case to determine whether an error negatively impacted the decision made by the judge or jury hearing your case.

The party that appeals the original decision issued by a judge or jury based on an issue of law is called the Appellant and the other party is called the Respondent. Appeals start with the filing of a notice of appeal, which initiates the period an appellant has to file a brief. The Appellant files a written brief. The role of the brief is to address the facts and law that formed the trial court decision and then argue why the decision was incorrect and ultimately requires a different outcome. In response, the Respondent’s attorney can file a Cross-Appeal raising its own issues to appeal from the trial court’s decision and may address the issues put in dispute by the Appellant’s lawyer. 

An appeal can have three possible outcomes.

Confirm the Original Decision

If the appellate court confirms the original decision issued by a civil court judge, the original decision stands. The appellate court affirms the decision issued by the trial court judge.

Reverse the Original Decision

If the appellate court discovers one or more errors that impacted the outcome of the civil trial, the appellate court has the authority to reverse the original decision. 

Modify the Decision and Send the Case Back to the Trial Court

In addition to reversing a civil trial decision, the appellate court also can modify the trial court’s decision and send the case back to the trial court to be re-tried in conformance with the appellate court’s decision. The appellant then may go back to the trial court and re-try the limited issues modified on appeal to try and obtain a different outcome. 

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Appellate Attorney

If you need assistance with an appeal, 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.

How to Handle Bad Swimming Pool Construction - construction attorney - Alves RadCliffe

How to Handle Swimming Pool Construction Defects

You thought about building a swimming pool in your backyard for years. The home improvement project adds another amenity to your property, which increases the value of your home. You get to spend countless afternoons relaxing under the warmth of the sun, as well as invite friends and family members over for a day of outdoor fun. The only thing standing in your way of realizing your dream is swimming pool construction defects.

If you are embroiled in a dispute with a swimming pool contractor over the design and construction of a swimming pool, work with an experienced construction attorney who specializes in pool construction defects to ensure you receive every legal protection granted by law. Working with a construction lawyer also educates you on how to handle bad swimming pool construction.

Pool Defects 

Not all defects are readily apparent to the untrained eye and not every blemish amounts to a defect. Common problems with pools include structural cracking in the pool shell, pool engineering problems, cracked coping and tile, lack of sufficient gunite, improperly placed reinforcing bar (“rebar”), and improperly compacted soils. Oftentimes pools are placed on hillsides and require special engineering that may not be adequate to support the weight of the pool. As a starting point, if you are experiencing cracking in your pool and suspect something is wrong, check to see if your auto fill is running continuously or whether your water bills are abnormally high. A construction attorney specializing in pools should be consulted to determine whether the defect is significant and causing damages. 

Follow the Contract

The contract you signed with the contractor includes all the details that are associated with the swimming pool project. The contract should be in writing, reasonably detail the scope of work, and provide for a schedule of payments. When the project starts to move away from the standards established in the contract, refer the contractor to the contract to reinforce your position. For example, if the contract states the contractor is responsible for defects, refer the contractor to the contract to enforce that legal provision. Before you sign any type of contract that is covered by business and commercial law, you should have a construction attorney review it to ensure it includes every legal protection you need.

Leave a Digital Trail

One of the most frequent issues that arise between homeowners and contractors concerns miscommunication. Contractors often get deeply involved with a construction project such as a swimming pool, which can lead to a lack of communication with a homeowner. Although you should establish the standard for responsive communication before the start of a construction project, you can jump-start your interactions by encouraging short daily emails that keep you updated about the status of the swimming pool. Text messages are discouraged because it makes for a more difficult paper trail later to piece together the evidence. 

Adapt to Changes

Sometimes, a bad swimming pool construction project does not involve the design or construction of the swimming pool. A construction dispute can be about not  defects. If your swimming pool project has fallen behind schedule for a legitimate reason and you and the contractor agree to change the timeline, make sure to get it in writing and signed by you and the contractor first. 

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, 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.

Alves RadCliffe - construction attorney - 10 Signs That a Contractor is Negligent

10 Signs That a Contractor is Negligent

You have invested a significant amount of time and money into a construction project, which means you expect the general contractor you hire to manage the project to complete the project on time and under budget. However, some construction projects fail to meet the standards established by the industry. With the help of an experienced construction attorney, you should learn about the 10 signs that demonstrate that a contractor is negligent.

Substandard Work

The most common sign a contractor is negligent concerns defective, shoddy, and substandard work. The quality of the work completed on your construction project must meet the standards written into the construction contract. If you fail to detail in the construction contract the quality of work that you expect, it will be difficult to prove the general contractor committed one or more acts of negligence.

Inferior Equipment

One look at the equipment used by a general contractor and the team of independent contractors should tell the story about the competency of the crew responsible for completing your project. Failing to use construction equipment that is in mint condition increases the risk of an accident happening onsite. 

Reckless Behavior

A construction site is not a place for workers to engage in reckless behavior, which includes operating machinery carelessly and violating standard safety protocols. You should immediately report any behavior to the project manager that violates construction or real estate law.

Lack of Permits

Before the first step of the construction project is underway, property owners must verify every contractor onsite has obtained the required state and federal permits. The lack of possessing the legally required permits represents a red flag that helps you determine whether you need the legal support of a construction attorney.

Cost Overruns

When you hire a general contractor, you expect to receive regularly submitted financial reports that describe the financial status of your construction projects. Any report that shows a project running over budget is a sign of negligence on the part of the general contractor in charge of the project.

Defective Protective Gear

Every worker on your construction project must wear the right protective gear to prevent an onsite accident. Violations of the standards created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are a clear sign the contractor is negligent in managing your construction project.

Visible Defects

From leaky pipes that discharge water to cracks in a structure, you should be able to detect basic defects of a construction project. Hiring a construction attorney during your construction project can help you notice defects.

Not Enough Warning Signs

The general contractor running your construction project cannot prevent every hazard from becoming a safety issue. However, placing warning signs in the right locations reduces the likelihood of an onsite accident costing you both time and money.

Visits from Government Inspectors

A contractor that deals with unannounced government inspections might be a contractor that has a record of violating safety standards. If not addressed, this warning sign can eventually lead to the end of your construction project.

Covering Up Mistakes

Accidents happen on construction sites, and when one happens during your construction project, how the general contractor responds can tell you whether the general contractor should be held legally accountable for the circumstances that led to the accident.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, 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.

How Property Owners Can Protect Themselves Against Mechanic's Liens - construction attorney - Alves RadCliffe

How Property Owners Can Protect Themselves Against Mechanic’s Liens

You meticulously planned every step of a home improvement project. Working with a general contractor has reduced your responsibilities because the team of project managers from the general contractor handles the recruitment of trade professionals, as well as schedules daily tasks. However, there might be one step you should add to your home improvement project.

You should speak with a construction attorney to help you avoid costly mechanic’s liens.

A mechanic’s lien gives trade professionals a tool to protect themselves from property owners that refuse to pay for specialized services and the time put into a project. Most of the steps that help you avoid a mechanic’s lien have one thing in common.

Communication.

Let’s look at some basic principles that can help you avoid a mechanic’s lien.

Prequalification Process

One of the basics of a construction lien is for the general contractor to get paid what the company deserves. You can avoid the hassle of a mechanic’s lien by putting the general contractor through a prequalification process. Determine how the general contractor handled past payment practices before agreeing to a payment plan. You also need to know how a general contractor handles a missed payment.

Preliminary Notice

What frustrates a property owner more than just about anything concerning a construction project is unexpectedly receiving a mechanic’s lien. You avoid this issue by requiring the general contractor to ask for preliminary notices from every supplier and independent contractor. A preliminary notice provides you with the names of each trade professional, as well as what you owe each trade professional.

Asking for preliminary notices is one of the most important principles of real estate law.

Joint Checks

Issuing joint checks represents an effective strategy to avoid a mechanic’s lien, as well as prevent a contractor from receiving two payments during the same pay period. Issuing a joint check requires all parties to endorse the check before a financial institution releases the funds. If a trade professional and the trade professional’s supplier receive a joint check, the supplier must endorse the check before the trade professional can cash it.

Payment Bond

Taking out a payment bond removes the legal liability from your property to address a compensation issue. A payment bond transfers the inherent risk of receiving a mechanic’s lien to the issuer of the payment bond. If the general contractor, primary supplier, and independent contractor do not get paid by the payment deadline, each party has the right to make a claim against the payment bond.

Make Full Payments Before Every Deadline

One of the most important pieces of advice given by a construction attorney to a client does not involve legal jargon. You can avoid receiving a mechanic’s lien if you issue full payments on time, every time. Issuing full, timely payments is the most effective way to avoid a mechanic’s lien.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, 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.

The Main Methods to Settle a Construction Dispute - construction attorney - Alves RadCliffe

The Main Methods to Settle a Construction Dispute

If you run a company in the construction industry, you understand that disputes are a part of doing business. Disagreements between property owners and contractors, contractors and trade professionals, and subcontractors and suppliers can pop up at any time. The question is not will your construction company experience a dispute down the road. Instead, the question is how will you handle a disagreement with a supplier, subcontractor, or property owner?

The short answer involves hiring an experienced construction attorney who has successfully handled a considerable number of legal disputes. A construction lawyer can help you sign a legally valid contract that clearly defines every factor that goes into a construction project. Working with a state-licensed construction attorney also ensures your company receives legal protection against any invalid disputes.

One of the greatest benefits of hiring a construction lawyer is to have legal representation when the time comes to implement one of the main methods to settle a construction dispute.

What Options Do I Have to Settle a Construction Dispute?

You have four methods to settle a construction dispute: negotiations, mediation, arbitration, and litigation. It is important for you to understand the pros and cons of each method.

Negotiations

The first step to settle a construction dispute involves direct negotiations between both parties. Instead of costly litigation, negotiations can end a dispute without it ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. Your construction attorney submits an offer, which is countered by the lawyer representing the other party. Even if negotiations do not resolve the dispute, at least both parties understand what are the major points of contention.

Mediation

Mediation typically follows failed negotiations. Held before an unbiased third party, mediation represents a confidential legal process where both parties agree to meet and work out their differences with the help of a third party. Mediation is a common resolution process for many business and commercial law cases.

Arbitration

Considered a faster and less costly legal option than litigation, arbitration is the preferred method of resolving disputes for many construction contractors. Depending on the extent of a dispute, arbitration can be held in front of one or as many as three arbitrators. The arbitration process unfolds in a similar way as a civil trial, with discovery a vital part of the process. Both parties exchange evidence and the statements made by witnesses. Arbitrations decisions are binding, which means if you choose this legal option, you must live with the decision made by the arbitrator or arbitrators.

Litigation

Do you need a construction attorney for a contractor dispute? The answer is an emphatic yes if your dispute reaches the litigation phase of the legal process. The advantage of litigation over arbitration is although a judge issues a decision, you have the right to appeal the decision if it does not go in your favor. However, the downside to litigation is the process can be time-consuming, as well as you cannot recover court costs and attorney fees.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, 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.

Determining if You Need a Construction Lawyer for a Contractor Dispute - construction attorney - Alves RadCliffe

Determining if You Need a Construction Lawyer for a Contractor Dispute

Construction disputes can be daunting for all involved parties, whether defendant or plaintiff. As disputes build up to lawsuits or legal action, you face the uncertainty of where you’ll end up. You might find yourself at a negotiation table or in a courtroom. Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate the legal world alone if you partner with a construction attorney.

If you’re facing any of the below situations, now is a good time to find an attorney.

If you’re suing or being sued

Contact a construction attorney or general consultant with construction expertise if lawsuits are involved. Standing alone on any side of a legal battle without a litigation professional can expose you to more damage. If you are the party being sued, a lawyer can identify cross-claims that allow you, the defendant, to sue the plaintiff for an issue related to the main case. If you are the party suing, a lawyer will work to keep your case airtight and fight against any cross-claims the defendant might raise.

Even if lawsuits haven’t been filed and they are merely hanging in the air as a threat, a lawyer can assist you in determining possible liabilities. Not all lawsuit threats manifest, and sometimes they’re merely thrown out to intimidate or force action. If any seem credible or likely to play out, you’ll want a legal expert on your side to get through the ensuing legal battle.

If your negotiations have stalled

The typical first step to approaching disputes is negotiations. If the property owner initiates the dispute, the contractor might offer additional or discounted future services, adjust the project cost, or offer alternatives. If the roles are reversed and the contractor sues because of the owner’s inability to meet payments, a common type of construction dispute faced by contractors, the owner might promise full payment spread out over a longer period.

Sometimes these negotiations work out, but sometimes one or both parties won’t budge and progress hits a wall. A lawyer versed in construction litigation can jumpstart negotiations and help both parties reach a common ground without sacrificing your best interests. In the case the negotiations transform into a lawsuit, a lawyer will be necessary to minimize your risk exposure and give you a higher chance of success in court.

If you’re dealing with a jobsite injury

It’s in your best interests to find an attorney if you’re facing a jobsite injury. These claims can get complicated very quickly when construction workers’ compensation is involved. You can try to keep these disputes out of the courtroom, but in many cases that simply isn’t possible. That’s why it’s important to find a qualified attorney as soon as the dispute begins to intensify. Once momentum builds, you could be dropped into an unfamiliar legal situation with little to no warning.

Regardless of the dispute, if you feel legal challenges could quickly arise, it’s good to have a construction attorney on your contact list. Preparation can make a huge difference, especially when you’re involved with a major construction project.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, 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.

Pool Construction Disputes Look Out for These Common Issues - construction attorney - Alves RadCliffe

Pool Construction Disputes: Look out For These Common Issues

As with all construction projects, pool construction can be privy to complications resulting in legal disputes that need litigation from a construction attorney. Even thoroughly crafted contracts can be challenged. Whether you’re a pool contractor or property owner, it’s a good idea to be familiar with a few of the common legal issues that construction attorneys and general consultants see when construction doesn’t go according to plans. 

More work is needed than anticipated

Before taking a new project, pool contractors inspect the prospective construction site for feasibility. The geographical location and ground slope can impact the pool depth, width, construction materials, and where drainage should be installed. Every detail is necessary to create a pool plan the client approves of, and write a contract that protects the interests of the client and contractor.

However, there is no such thing as an inspection that catches every detail that could impact construction. Some details might not even be perceivable until construction is underway, due to incorrect or incomplete property floor plans or obstructions. A contractor might be halfway through excavating the site when they discover an issue that requires more work than listed in the original project plans.

New developments are to be expected in any construction job, and contractors are prepared to pivot and meet new needs. However, pivoting can sometimes result in additional work that pushes out the project timeline or raises the construction cost. In some cases, additional contractors or subcontractors may need to be brought on. The contract should explain how these events are handled, but property owners might take issue regardless. The dispute could escalate to the point you need to find an experienced construction attorney.

The pool needs repairs shortly after completion

Pool construction is intensive and has many moving parts. A mishap with one part or step of construction could cause ripples impacting later steps of the project, ultimately resulting in a pool that needs immediate repairs. Property owners might raise issues with superficial defects on tilework and grouting, or serious defects that undermine the pool’s wall or structure and could collapse. They might also blame contractors for a newly installed ladder that disconnects from the pool wall.

Standard construction contracts have indemnity clauses that lay out how responsibility is split among contractors, subcontractors, and property owners when construction is impacted by negligence. This helps determine how medical and legal costs are allocated should the pool defects result in injury. This also is a common cause for disputes because property managers and contractors alike could disagree about how indemnity is applied in practice.

There are disagreements about collection

Even if pool contractors and property owners agree about how and when payment is made, construction events that push out the timeline or result in larger costs could change the payment method. The property owner might expect a longer time to deliver while the pool contractor might expect more concise payments. Property owners might change their mind about increased costs and ask for additional services to make up the gap between what they deem appropriate and what they’re charged.

Any pool construction dispute can stir up legal issues, stress, and cost you time and money. If you’re a pool contractor or a property owner facing pool construction disputes, reach out to a local attorney for legal assistance.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with a pool construction 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.

Understanding Your Construction Contract The Indemnity Clause - construction attorney - Alves RadCliffe

Understanding Your Construction Contract: The Indemnity Clause

Imagine this scenario: You’ve hired a general contractor to patch up your roof that has been stripped by extreme weather. While on the job, a subcontractor injures themself and sues you, the property owner. Fortunately, your contract with the general contractor has an indemnity clause that requires the general contractor to pay the subcontractor.

The above is a simplified example of how the indemnity clause can protect you when accidents happen. Often, a construction attorney or general consultant with experience in construction law  is needed to lay out the intricacies of the clause and figure out exactly who holds responsibility for injuries and damage.

What is an indemnity clause?

An indemnity clause determines who assumes responsibility for risk. There are three main parties in a clause: the claimant (the party making the claim), the indemnitee (the party being accused), and the indemnitor (the party taking responsibility for the accused). 

In the sample scenario above, the property owner is the indemnitee, the subcontractor the claimant, and the subcontractor the indemnitor. The clause transferred responsibility to the general contractor, protecting the property manager from legal expenses. Because indemnity clauses deal with the transfer of legal risk, they’re a common type of construction dispute.

What are the different types of indemnity clauses?

There are three main types of indemnity clauses. The broad form of indemnity states that the indemnitor assumes all responsibility for the indemnitee. In practice, this could be a general contractor taking responsibility for damages/injuries caused by subcontractors. In this case, if the subcontractors are explicitly negligent, their risk is passed onto the general contractor.

The immediate form of indemnity is a more restricted version of the broad form, but still relatively broad. The indemnitor assumes all responsibility unless the indemnitee is completely responsible. This means if the indemnitee is partially responsible, the indemnitor still assumes responsibility. In other words, immediate indemnity is “all or nothing.”

The third and most common indemnity clause is the comparative form, which follows common law principles by allocating responsibility to the party associated with the negligent act. The associated party has to be fully responsible for the negligent act, which can stir dispute among parties.

How can you deal with an indemnity clause?

As a property owner working with contractors, get familiar with your contract’s indemnity clause. Keep an eye on your project and look out for unforeseen circumstances. If an indemnity clause is invoked, negotiation or taking legal action on your own could turn a complicated situation into an even more complex tangle of accusations. Seek legal assistance from an experienced construction attorney who specializes in litigation.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with a construction law dispute regarding identity clauses, 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.

Common Types of Construction Law Disputes You Could Face as a Contractor - construction attorney - Alves Radcliffe

Common Types of Construction Law Disputes You Could Face as a Contractor

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.

Contract Disputes

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.

Indemnity Disputes

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.

Collections Disputes

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.

Liability Disputes

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.