With the many moving parts and people associated with construction companies, it is common for one party involved to become disgruntled and to turn to legal action. Disputes could occur for a number of reasons, including plans and project specifications, scope of work, change orders, site conditions, project access, failure to pay, termination, injury, subcontractor substitution and construction defects.
Use these tips to stay ahead of the curve in the courtroom should a lawsuit be filed against you:
- Pay attention when it is received. “Service of process” refers to the way in which one party delivers legal documents. Take notes on the date, time and deliverer (name, age and position) of the complaint, and be sure to keep everything that was dropped off. These small details could allow you to challenge the delivery of service, which could void the entire transaction.
- Respond quickly. When hit with a lawsuit, don’t avoid it, file it away and forget about it. Read it when you’re first served to identify exactly who filed the claim, what the claim is and how much money is being demanded. The quicker you take action, the better control you have.
- Contact your lawyer and insurance company. Never automatically try to settle the dispute alone. Contact an experienced attorney in your field and your insurance agent if you think you may be covered in the particular case filed against you. They’ll guide you on the proper steps to take. Keep in mind that conversations with your lawyer are confidential, but if you speak with any third-party, things shared with him or her can easily be used against you in court.
- Gather all relevant documents. Collect correspondence, invoices, photographs, contracts and any other documentation related to the case. Your attorney can then review all information in one place to see where you stand in regards to the case.
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