Nobody likes a lawsuit, but the construction field is full of them. Lawsuits are expensive, time-consuming and stressful, and all too often they don’t work out the way we want them to. A good lawyer can certainly make the process much easier, but wouldn’t you rather avoid the lawsuit in the first place?
Common Lawsuits in the Construction Industry
One major risk in the construction industry is a workplace injury lawsuit. A construction zone can be one big accident waiting to happen and there is significant potential for life-altering or even fatal injuries. A serious incident can mean enormous medical bills for the injured employee, not to mention lost wages and potential disability. It also could be a huge hit to the business.
Another risk is damage to a client’s property. Whether a carpenter’s hammer slips, materials get damaged in the rain or the contractors accidentally tears down the wrong building, the client is not going to be happy and will definitely want compensation for resulting damages. There is also the possibility that the client will not be happy with the work and will sue to get out of the contract.
Don’t forget that in some instances a contractor could be the one instigating a lawsuit. If your client refuses to pay you or your vendor fails to deliver the right materials, you may need to go take somebody to court.
How Can You Avoid Lawsuits?
The first step you should always take is to secure an airtight contract and work with a lawyer who is experienced with construction law. A good contract can head off a lot of the worst problems of a lawsuit by spelling out what is expected of all involved parties.
Another option to consider is filing a construction lien on the property. If you’re faced with a client that just refuses to pay you, a construction lien could be your best friend. You have the right to foreclose on that property and sell it to recoup the money your client owes you. Even if the client sells the property, you still have the right to claim your fee from the proceeds of the sale. This is a great way to make sure you get paid without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom.
Finally, look into purchasing liability insurance. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit, the attorney fees alone could mean the end of your business. With a good insurance plan, you won’t have to worry about paying out of pocket if you get sued.
Keep Yourself Out of the Courtroom
Lawsuits are among the worst things that can happen to a business. A few simple precautions can go a long way toward keeping you out of the courtroom. A good contract, a construction lien and a liability insurance policy are all excellent life rafts to keep you afloat in a sea of potential litigation.