Construction disputes are a common occurrence, often the direct result of miscommunication between a contractor and the client. When the work has not been performed up to the client’s standard or request, a failure to pay for services may ensue. In some cases, the contractor dispute may be due to a failure to perform or the result of a finished product that did not meet the safety code rules and regulations. Sometimes the dispute is regarding costs shooting over budget or failure of the client to understand the written estimate. Whatever the causation, contracting disputes can be a messy situation and may require legal action from one or both parties. Due to the cost of general construction, hiring an attorney may be the best solution to handle your case with arbitration or mediation to ensure that you recover the maximum amount of money in a timely manner.
Mediation is an out of court remedy that brings the disgruntled parties together with a third party who listens to both sides of the argument. The mediator must remain neutral and offer suggestions of resolution, and can spare both sides the time and money of going to trial. The mediator should be well-versed in this particular area of law and able to determine if a settlement would stand up in court. Although the mediator will offer valuable legal advise and commentary, he or she is not acting with judicial powers to settle a claim. Both parties can benefit greatly from using an unbiased third party to bring the legal details to light and resolve the issue in a fair and equitable decision.
If an informal mediation session fails to bring resolution, the disgruntled parties may wish to set an arbitration date before filing a law suit in court. The arbitration process is similar to a trial, yet conducted in an informal manner before a single or panel of arbitration specialists. Contrary to the mediation administer, the arbitrator may declare a legally binding resolution and judgment. The arbitration sessions are usually faster and easier to conduct than a formal trial, and can be in the best interest of both parties involved.
Before entering into any kind of construction dispute, it is wise to check with your state for any resolution opportunities that have been set up to help the home owner. Time is money, so before hiring an attorney, arbitrator or mediator you may wish to contact your state’s licensing board for a short cut to contractor settlements and claims. Each state is regulated by their own unique laws which are geared for fairness to both contractor and client. The contracting laws are separated into each contracting division to include electrical work, plumbing, landscaping, HVAC, pest control, etc.
Home owners should be aware that before the contracting work begins, that your service contract may include the right to attach a mechanic’s lien to the work. This clause ensures that the contractor will recover his or her fees should the client refuse to pay. In extreme cases, the client may be bound to the mechanic’s lien agreement and forced to sell the property to pay the debt. Should a legal dispute arise between you and your contractor, be sure to take some form of action without delay. Whether it be a mediator, arbitrator or legal counsel with an attorney, you must make a decision to take action.