No one wants to get sued. But it’s always a risk if you’re in the construction business. Whether it’s a dissatisfied customer, an injured employee, or someone who claims your work caused damage to their property, construction lawsuits are all too common. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit, here are some tips on dealing with it.
1. Hire a good lawyer.
This may seem like an obvious first step, but it’s often overlooked in the heat of the moment. A good lawyer will be able to tell you what your chances of winning are and what kind of settlement you can expect. They will also be able to handle all the paperwork and appearances in court, so you can focus on running your business.
You can find a lawyer specializing in construction-related lawsuits by asking other business owners in your industry and doing research online. You can also check with your local bar association and the state’s department of commerce to find a list of lawyers in your area. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can also contact legal aid services.
Depending on the case, you may also need to work with an expert witness. This could be an engineer, architect, or another professional with specialized knowledge of the construction project. If a piece of construction equipment, like a lift, is involved, you may need aerial lift expert witness services. They can provide specialized testimony and advice on aerial lift issues. They can also be a valuable resource in dispute resolution.
2. Gather all the relevant documents.
Once you have a lawyer, they will request all the relevant documents related to the case. This will include contracts, emails, invoices, photographs, and anything else that might be relevant to the case. It’s essential to get these to your lawyer as soon as possible so they can start building a defense.
When gathering documents, make sure to check with any subcontractors or other partners who were involved in the project. They may be able to provide additional information that could be useful in defending your case. If you don’t have all the documents, tell your lawyer. They may be able to help you get them or work around them.
3. Be prepared for a long battle.
Construction lawsuits can drag on for years. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get it settled out of court. But if it goes to trial, be prepared for a long fight. It could take months or even years to get a final ruling. You need to make sure you have the financial resources to last throughout the case.
Some cases can be resolved with mediation, but it’s important to make sure your lawyer is on board with this option as they may not think it’s the best way to resolve the case. It would be best if you also were prepared to compromise, as most mediation is based on both parties finding a mutually agreeable solution. You’ll need to be prepared to make some concessions in order for litigation to end.
4. Be honest with your insurer.
If you have insurance that covers construction lawsuits, now is the time to call them and give them all the details. They will likely assign an adjuster to the case who will work with your lawyer to try and reach a settlement. The insurer may also be able to provide legal advice or even representation in some cases.
It’s important to note that it could invalidate your coverage if you don’t tell your insurer about the case right away. So make sure to contact them as soon as possible once you find out you’re being sued. They may also be able to pay for the cost of your lawyer and other expenses related to the lawsuit.
5. Stay focused on running your business.
Throughout all this, it’s important to remember that you still have a business to run. Try not to let the lawsuit consume all your time and energy. Delegate as much as possible so you can stay focused on what’s important—keeping your business afloat during these difficult times. You may also want to consider hiring a business consultant or project manager to help manage the day-to-day operations while you focus on the lawsuit.
If you find it hard to stay focused, talk to your lawyer. They can provide advice and help you stay on track. Some lawyers even offer business consulting services to help their clients navigate the legal process while still running a successful business.
No one ever wants to find themselves on the receiving end of a lawsuit—but if you’re in the construction business, it’s always a risk. If you do find yourself in this unfortunate situation, there are some steps you can take to minimize the damages and protect your business interests. Those mentioned above are just some things you’ll need to consider. With the right lawyer and a little bit of preparation, you can get through it and come out stronger on the other side.