As of 2016, the construction market in the United States was worth roughly $1,162 billion. Due to the complex nature of the construction industry, legal disputes involving owners, contractors, developers, and other parties periodically occur. If you’re a contractor in this situation, it’s imperative that you contact a construction law attorney to help you protect your assets. Cokinos/Young are commercial real estate attorneys who specialize in construction law. They’ve provided examples of three instances when contractors should seek legal counsel.
1. Injuries on the Job.
Due to the inherently hazardous nature of construction work, injuries on the job site are more prevalent in this industry. Other parties besides your employer, such as equipment manufacturers or property owners, may be legally accountable for the injuries you sustained. Obtaining compensation from them isn’t affected by workers’ compensation laws.
If you’re injured at a job site, report it to your construction site manager as well as your employer, and make sure to get their names and job titles. It’s also vital to take down the names and contact information of any potential witnesses. If it’s possible, take photos of the site where the injury occurred, and keep any tool or equipment involved as well.
Once you’ve collected all the necessary information, contact a law firm that has a construction attorney available to discuss your case with you, evaluate the situation, and advise you about the next steps you should take.
2. Payment Disputes.
Payment issues in the construction industry can stem from customers refusing to make payment for a completed project that wasn’t up to their expectations. In addition, certain construction jobs end up going over budget because of unexpected materials or labor costs, causing disputes.
There are a number of legal options that are available to contractors in this situation. These include placing a lien on the work completed and suing for breach of contract. When you sense that a payment dispute is imminent, it’s wise to get legal assistance so you’re protected and aware of your options.
3. Defective Construction.
In most cases, just pointing out the defect to your contractor often enables them to promptly resolve the issue. However, in more serious situations, it’s important to determine the specific cause of the defect, such as design flaws, defects in the materials used, or the construction work itself.
Distinguishing between these possible causes is critical because it aids in determining the liable party. If you’re a contractor involved in this situation, a construction law or commercial real estate attorney can go over your case with you and give you the professional advice you need.
The complex legal issues that arise in the construction industry can include job-related injuries, payment issues, and defective construction lawsuits. The counsel of an experienced construction law or commercial real estate attorney can help contractors protect their rights and give knowledgeable advice about their legal options.