Lawyer for Contractor Dispute: What You Should Know Before You Sue
Are you a contractor or client involved in a construction project gone wrong? Perhaps you're facing delays, disagreements over payment or substandard work, or a dispute over project specifications. Whatever the issue may be, the world of construction law can be complex and overwhelming.
But don't worry, we're here to help. In this article, we'll provide you with essential information on how to navigate contractor disputes and achieve a successful outcome.
We'll explore topics such as finding the right construction litigation attorney in Florida, the importance of preparing for legal action, and the different methods for resolving contract disputes. You'll also discover the potential risks and benefits of taking legal action and how to handle disputes.
By reading this article, you'll gain valuable insights into the legal options available to you as a contractor or client and the steps you can take to protect your rights and achieve a fair resolution.
Don't let a construction dispute derail your project or cause unnecessary stress. With the right legal guidance and support, you can find a solution that works for everyone involved. So, if you're ready to take control of your contractor dispute, read on!
Table of Contents
- What kind of lawyer do I need to sue a contractor in Florida
- What are three different ways to resolve a contract dispute
- How do I find a construction litigation attorney
- How to prepare to take legal action
- Can you sue a contractor without a contract
- Home Improvement and Commercial Contractor Disputes
- Looking for a Lawyer for Contractor Dispute?
What kind of lawyer do I need to sue a contractor in Florida
If you are in a dispute with a contractor in Florida, you need a top construction law firm who is experienced in construction law and handling issues between property owners and contractors. This is because there are specific laws in Florida that govern the relationship between owners and contractors and require owners to meet certain requirements before suing a builder or contractor. A general business attorney, divorce attorney, criminal defense attorney, personal injury attorney, or estate planning attorney will not have the necessary expertise in this area. It is important to find a lawyer for a contractor dispute who is familiar with these laws and has the necessary expertise to represent you effectively. A top construction law attorney with extensive experience can provide valuable insights and help you navigate the legal process, ultimately helping you achieve a successful outcome in your dispute with the contractor.
Additionally, the law firm may be able to provide mediation services, helping both sides come to an amicable resolution without the need for formal litigation. In any case, a good contractor dispute attorney will work hard to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you receive a fair settlement or judgment. A skilled lawyer can also help you assess liability and damages, ensuring that you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible from the contractor.
In Florida, there are laws and procedures you’ll need to follow to pursue that, which most often require assistance from experienced construction defect attorneys who are familiar with builder contracts and can negotiate with a builder’s attorney.
What are three different ways to resolve a contract dispute
There are three main ways to resolve disputes between two parties: mediation, arbitration, or litigation.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that seeks to amicably resolve a disagreement without resorting to the court system or arbitration. During mediation, the parties involved, the property owner along with the contractor responsible engage their legal representatives if applicable, and meet with a trained mediator who specializes in the art of dispute resolution. The mediator's role is to facilitate communication between the parties and guide them toward a mutually agreeable solution. The mediator does not make a decision on who is right or who is wrong, rather they assist not only one party but both parties in reaching a resolution and resolving disputes by encouraging open dialogue and helping to identify common interests. The goal of mediation is for the parties to retain control over the process and outcome of the contract dispute, recognizing that a negotiated settlement is often preferable to costly and time-consuming litigation. Therefore, if an agreement can be reached between the property owner and builder or contractor responsible for defective work, it is generally considered the best option to avoid litigation.
If attempts to resolve disputes with the contractor fail, the next step is to pursue legal action. This can take the form of either civil litigation or arbitration. In Florida, the default process is civil litigation, which involves filing a lawsuit in a court of law and having a judge assigned to the case. This process is public and can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months to resolve disputes, depending on the complexity of legal issues in the case. All documents filed in the civil court case become part of the public record and can be searched online. At the end of the process, there is either a jury trial or a trial in front of the judge to determine the outcome of the contract dispute.
In contrast, arbitration is a private process for disputes where an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators make a binding arbitration decision on the dispute, and the outcome is not a matter of public record. However, it still aims to resolve a dispute outside of court. Arbitration for contractor disputes usually involves a binding process where an arbitrator, not a judge, decides who is right and who is wrong. The arbitrator is usually an experienced construction attorney, a retired judge, or someone in the construction industry offering paid arbitration services.
One major difference is that you have to pay for the arbitrator's time, which can cost as much as an attorney's fees at an hourly rate, typically around $350 to $500 per hour. In contrast, judges are paid by taxpayers. To participate in arbitration, there must be a written agreement between you and the contractor that disputes will be resolved through arbitration. Otherwise, the default is to file a lawsuit in a court of law.
But with the arbitration clause, you only get to go to arbitration if there is an agreement, a written agreement between you and the contractor that provides for any disputes to go to arbitration, as the way to resolve them. So the default is always you go to a lawsuit and file a case in a court of law, but if you've agreed with your builder to arbitrate those kinds of disputes, then, arbitration is where that will take place.
Getting You to Your Most Ideal Outcome, Everytime.CONTACT US
How do I find a construction litigation attorney
When searching for a construction defect litigation attorney, it's common for construction defect clients to ask for referrals from their current lawyers or trusted advisors such as accountants or architects. These existing relationships often lead to introductions to specialized professionals like construction defect lawsuit attorneys.
How to prepare to take legal action
The first step towards preparing for legal action against a contractor is to do due diligence and consult with an experienced attorney or a lawyer who specializes in construction litigation. Even if you don't have a construction contract or didn't sign one, this initial decision will play a crucial role in determining what needs to be done or can be done against the contractor. By doing due diligence and speaking with a construction attorney first, you can gain the information you need to make an informed decision about whether taking legal recourse, action, or filing a lawsuit against a contractor is in your best interest. Keep in mind that there are many ways to resolve contractor disputes, and some options can be very expensive, potentially costing more than the problem you are trying to solve.
Assuming that in the worst-case scenario, you decide to pursue legal action, you should be aware that it will involve a lot of documentation. You will need to gather all communications with your contractor, whether it was via text, email, WhatsApp, or any other platforms, as well as all construction contracts, change orders, and anything related to the scope of work or payment schedule of your project. Your attorney will require these documents, so it's best to have them separated and organized in a way that is easy for your lawyer to review and understand.
It's important to note that simply handing a stack of unorganized documents to your lawyer can significantly increase your legal fees. To minimize the costs of legal representation, it's best to have all your documents organized in a clear and concise manner, which will save your lawyer time in organizing and reviewing the information. Additionally, creating a timeline of important events and dates related to the project can be extremely helpful for your lawyer to understand the case better. This timeline should include important milestones, such as the start date, signing of contracts or changes in scope, the full completion date and end date of unfinished work, the payment schedule, as well as any issues that arose during the project. For instance, if you noticed actual damages after the contractor repaired the roof, you should document the date and any relevant details about the construction defect or issue. By providing organized documents and a clear timeline, you'll be able to help your lawyer build a stronger case while minimizing costs and fees.
In addition, organizing necessary paperwork and creating a detailed record of the project, contractor, and project timeline can also help you remember important details about the project, which will be crucial if you need to provide testimony during a lawsuit. Trying to recall events that happened months or even years ago can be challenging, but having a clear and organized record of events can help refresh your memory and ensure that you can accurately convey important information. By taking these steps early on in the process, you can improve your chances of success.
Empowering you with
Strength, Confidence, & Control
Can you sue a contractor without a contract
Even if you don't have a written construction contract, you may still be able to sue a contractor for breach of contract under state law. It's likely there was an understanding between you and the contractor, even if it wasn't put into writing. However, it will be harder and more expensive to prove certain aspects of the agreement in civil court, without a written construction contract.
Nevertheless, there are still specific standards that licensed contractors are required by state law to meet when performing a project within their scope of work. If there are construction defects or the contractor fails or the construction project is not up to code, you may be able to recover damages even from contractors without a written contract. For instance, if the contractor did not follow the design that you provided, you may have a claim for breach of contract.
It's important to note that your rights under construction law will not be as clear-cut without a written contract, and the process for enforcing them may be more expensive and time-consuming. Nonetheless, if you believe that the contractor did not meet the standards of their profession, you may still have legal options available to you. It's always advisable to consult with a construction litigation lawyer to understand your options and develop a plan of action.
Peer Rated for Highest Level
of Professional Excellence
Home Improvement and Commercial Contractor Disputes
In essence, residential and commercial construction projects are similar in many ways, but there are some key differences. The main difference is that in commercial projects, the players involved are usually larger companies, and the scope of commercial projects are much larger. As a result, commercial construction contracts tend to be longer and more detailed than residential contracts, and it's essential to have a construction attorney on your team to review and revise these contracts before signing them.
While the basic structure of the contractor doing the work is similar in both residential construction and commercial construction projects, the need for professional contractors and detailed contracts is more pronounced in the commercial construction project context. Therefore, it's crucial for contractors to have a solid understanding of the specific construction project requirements and standards that apply to commercial projects to ensure success.
When it comes to commercial projects, there are certain factors a general contractor has to consider such as bonds and government-related properties, which come with specific restrictions and rules that apply. For instance, a general contractor cannot place a lien on governmental property, but there are other ways to secure payments in such situations. Although the rules may be different, what's in the contract ultimately controls everyone's rights. However, it's important to note that the law remains the same for both residential and commercial projects. Therefore, having a written contract is crucial for both types of projects.
Looking for a Lawyer for Contractor Dispute?
If you find yourself in a frustrating situation where a contractor failed and a construction project has gone awry, you don't have to handle it alone. At Wyman Legal Solutions, our team of construction lawyers is here to guide you through the process, whether you're a contractor, subcontractor, or owner. We understand your rights and are committed to enforcing them to ensure you receive the payment you deserve.
At Wyman Legal Solutions, we not only handle residential projects but also represent contractors, subcontractors, and owners in commercial projects and contractor disputes. For instance, when a subcontractor is awarded a contract on a job, we review the contract provided by the general contractor and identify any unfavorable terms. We then draft a rider or addendum to better protect our client's rights. Additionally, we handle various payment issues related to commercial projects such as claims of lien, breaches of contract, and helping clients receive their rightful payments.
So, whether you're dealing with a commercial project or a home improvement project, our team has the knowledge and expertise to help you navigate the complexities of construction law. Don't wait to take action. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in protecting your rights and securing the compensation you're owed. Let us help you turn a frustrating situation into a successful outcome.