Construction lawsuits, unfortunately, seem to be a truth of the industry. They cover a laundry list of topics, from basic contractual disputes to employment disagreements, to accident and injury claims. While these things happen on a regular basis, there’s no reason they have to be a foregone conclusion for you.
Common Construction Lawsuits
Here’s a look at some of the most common construction lawsuits and what you can do to protect against this happening to you.
Deficiency in design is the most common form of lawsuit that construction contractors face. This refers to a project that ends up inaccurate, incomplete or otherwise poorly done. Such projects often happen because a project was put on the fast track to completion and is on a tight schedule or a low budget as a result.
Time and Scheduling Delays
Lawsuits arising from projects getting behind schedule are another common problem. Staying in budget and on time are important in the construction industry. You need to be efficient and effective in approaching every job. When your project extends beyond the projected date of completion, whether it’s due to materials and equipment, inadequate labor, planning problems or other work-related conditions, lawsuits can result.
Dissatisfaction with Final Project
When you complete the project, if the owner isn’t satisfied to the final product, a dispute can arise which can eventually turn into a lawsuit. If there is a design flaw present, whether perceived or actual, a lawsuit can be the unfortunate outcome.
Avoiding Construction Lawsuits
The best way to avoid construction lawsuits is to be open, honest and regular with your communications. Everyone wants to outbid their competitors, but if the demands of the customer are unrealistic, you need to address this from day one. Keep your prices competitive but realistic.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Make sure that your client knows the exact work you are capable of delivering, which should be stated in a written contract agreement. If the timetable is too short or the budget too low, outline exactly why this is and point out that if others are offering faster work at a lower cost, they may be cutting corners that will come back to haunt them later.
Disputes and problems are going to arise on a job site—we all know that. Have a solid plan in place to deal with problems when they arise. Stand behind your work. Offering a warranty or service plan is a great way to build customer confidence and avoid a dispute turning into a lawsuit.
In the end, the best way to protect yourself when lawsuits do arise is to have a robust insurance policy. The right kind of liability insurance can protect you against the worst of a construction industry lawsuit and can even save you from a business-ruining financial disaster.