Whether you're building a garage or outbuilding on your property or constructing your dream home from scratch, you may find yourself wondering what to do in the event of a dispute with your contractor or a problem with the building materials themselves. Is it worth it to hire an attorney, or should you attempt to settle the matter on your own? Read on to learn more about some situations in which hiring a construction attorney may be warranted.
Contractor Payment Disputes
If your contractor demands payment up-front and then delays your construction project indefinitely—or if you're unhappy with the finished product but the contractor won't perform repairs until you shell out additional funds—you may need an attorney to iron out this dispute. The resolution of payment disputes will largely depend on what your construction contract contains, and an attorney is the best person to advise you on your rights and remedies when you're unhappy with the services you're paying for.
Before hiring a contractor, it's crucial to make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured. This helps protect you against potential liability claims if a subcontractor or an employee of the contractor is injured on your property. In most cases, the contractor's workers' compensation coverage should provide payment to the injured employee; however, if the situation is more complicated than that, you may need an attorney to ensure you don't sign or agree to anything that limits your rights.
This is why it's also important to carry your own liability policy if you're having others perform work on your property. Should a contractor's workers' compensation coverage not protect a subcontractor or employee, this injured person may attempt to come after your (presumably deeper) pockets. Having adequate insurance coverage can protect against a money judgment.
Construction Dangers and Defects
Delegating your construction project to a contractor can be a necessary but stressful decision. And when the final product isn't what you wanted—or worse, presents a dangerous or defective condition for those who enter it—you may wonder whether you have any legal recourse. Again, post-construction quality disputes are likely to be covered by the construction contract, so an attorney can advise you on how to proceed.
In the event that the process and resolution of post-construction quality disputes isn't covered in your construction contract, having an attorney becomes even more important. Quick repair of defects or problems is the key to minimizing future costs, so it's important to seek resolution of this issue as quickly as possible. Trying to work it out yourself, without the benefit of an attorney, can be an exercise in frustration.