If you ever had a bad experience with a contractor and want to sue them for this, you are at the right spot. It is not uncommon for the consumer to face a bad contractor. If a contractor has scammed you, read our article as we explain the first steps to take after this unpleasant experience and what kind of lawyers know how to deal with such cases.
We have seen many times that people want to sue a contractor because they don’t feel satisfied with the money they paid for the work that has been done. Some people end up hiring a lawyer to sue a contractor because of minor issues such as -hanging pictures on walls-, while others hire them to sue a contractor after their bedroom collapsed because they wanted to build another story in their house.
These kinds of lawsuits are classified as construction defect lawsuits, which means that the lawsuit is done because of a construction defect.
How to sue a contractor?
The first steps after you have decided to sue a contractor are easy, but it will depend on what kind of case you have. For example, if you don’t have any paperwork whatsoever or have paid in cash and there’s no receipt, your first step should be to recover your money by using the contractor in small claims court.
The second step will be to find out if a lawyer specializes in such cases and then contacts him. You will need to provide documentation that can help your cases, such as photos of the project, receipts, and other written evidence that could back up your story. If you have paid in cash, you should get a written statement from the contractor because this could be your best evidence.
If the lawyer decides to go forward with your case, he must file a civil complaint against the contractor. You have not mentioned how much money you spent on the project, so it is difficult to say how much lawyers charge for this case.
What kind of Lawyer do I need to sue a contractor?
If you are thinking of filing a claim against your contractor, several types of lawyers can represent you. For example, if the contractor failed to meet the obligations under an agreement or contract between you and the contractor, you should hire a lawyer specializing in contract law. If there was negligence on behalf of the contractor during construction, which caused damages to the building, you should consult a construction law lawyer.
What are the common reasons to use a contractor?
There are many reasons why you would decide to use a contractor. Some of the most common issues include
- Lack of workmanship
- Poor quality of construction,
- Failure to pay subcontractors and material suppliers
- Mistakes in design or planning that end up costing extra money
If you have paid in cash and did not receive any paperwork for the job that has been done, you should immediately hire a lawyer because this could be considered fraud. The contractor did not complete your project, but he still took the money and ran away.
When you decide to use a contractor, you must prove something wrong with the contractor’s work. Otherwise, your case will not stand. You should gather as much information as you can about the case and contact a lawyer specializing in your type of case to help you build your case.
When hiring someone to do construction work on your home, it is widespread to come across some issues that are “constructive fraud.” It happens when something goes wrong during construction, and the contractor knows about this problem but does not tell you. In these cases, it is tough for you to sue a contractor because, in most cases, the courts will say that there was no obligation from the contractor to disclose/mention these issues/problems to you.
In many construction defect lawsuits, the property owner contracts with design professionals and general contractors to complete home improvement projects such as room additions, new kitchens, or bathrooms. A contract will include a detailed scope of work, timeline for completion, and cost estimate for labor and materials.
If the project is not completed on time or exceeds the original budget, it may take legal action against the contractor.
What are the different types of contractual legal claims
Your complaint could allege claims for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, or fraud.
For example, if your architect or general contractor had entered into a contract with you to design and build an addition to your home, which would cost $100,000, but the project went over budget by $10,000, causing you additional financial hardship, you might want to consider a legal claim for breach of contract.
Fraud cases often arise when the client and contractor have agreed upon a specific price or timeline, but one partner later fails to comply with their promises. It may occur if your contractor is unable (or unwilling) to complete the project as promised at the original set cost. In those instances, you would have a fraud claim.
Negligent misrepresentation occurs when the contractor fails to disclose pertinent information about the project, such as structural issues with your home, before you agree to pay them in full. In that case, you may have a claim for negligent misrepresentation or unfair business practices, depending on your state’s laws.
What are my chances of winning if I sue my contractor?
Unfortunately, it is not very easy to win your case against a general contractor. If your claim does not have merit, in most cases, courts will not rule in your favor even if you can prove that you were right.
The best way to win your case is to prepare for it. If you collect all the necessary evidence, draft official letters of demand and follow our tips on using a contractor, you will have much better chances of winning.
What are my options if I need to hire an attorney? Are there any free legal services available?
If you cannot afford a lawyer, you should contact your local bar association. In most states, legal aid services are available, which provide free legal representation to low-income individuals.
In addition, the American Bar Association has a program called Lawyer for Justice which provides pro bono (free) legal assistance to individuals who can’t afford a lawyer. You can find your local office here: ABA Lawyer For Justice.
How do I find a reasonable attorney? What should I look for when hiring an attorney?
When choosing an attorney, you should meet with them to know them and see how comfortable you are working with them. Make sure you hire an attorney specializing in practicing law in your state and who has experience with lawsuits involving general contractors.
If you choose to work with an attorney on a contingency fee basis, make sure you understand all the fees and costs associated with your case before signing any agreements. When choosing an hourly rate, ask about the attorney’s educational background and years of experience.
Depending on your case, an hourly rate with a lower educational background may be acceptable. However, if your case is complex and requires specific knowledge, you should work with an attorney who has more years of experience as their hourly rate will likely be higher.
If I hire the wrong attorney, what kind of mistakes could they make?
An inexperienced or incompetent lawyer can make many mistakes that can jeopardize your case. Such mistakes include missing deadlines, not preparing for the trial correctly, or mishandling evidence.
What kind of law do I file if my contractor fails to pay me for subcontractors?
If you did not receive payments from your general contractor for work performed by subcontractors, you should file a claim for breach of contract against your general contractor.
The bottom line is that if you have decided to sue a contractor, first ask yourself why you want to go this route? You can hire a lawyer after your decision, but it will be more expensive if it turns out not to be necessary. If you had some bad experience with the contractor, then, however, hiring a lawyer is the right step to take.