When should I sue a construction contractor?

Before running down to the courthouse to file suit after one failed attempt to settle a dispute with a construction contractor, or any party for that matter, there are a few things to think about.

First, and probably most importantly, are you suing a company or individual from whom you can collect proceeds should you win your case? To answer this question, consider the financial state of the party being sued. Is the business bankrupt? Does the individual have provable income? Can they be located? Are there any assets in their name that could be seized? If the answer to all of these questions is no, then suing would likely be a waste of time. Ever heard the saying “you can’t get something out of nothing?” It applies here.

Second, honestly ask yourself if you believe you have a good case. What is the percentage of the chance that you could prove a wrongdoing or breach of contract beyond a shadow of a doubt? If it is on paper, in black and white, then it may be a 100% case. However, if basing accusations on a verbal agreement for which there is no hard evidence, this question should probably be strongly, and honestly, considered. The decision to sue should not be a hasty one, but rather a well thought out plan not developed out of sheer anger.

Third, exhaust all other options prior to filing suit. A contract breach could likely be settled in mediation without the need for going to court. Or once flared tempers calm, a suitable agreement may be reached between you and the opposing party directly with no expensive court costs.

When we feel we have been wronged, especially in a matter where time and money are involved, it is all too easy to immediately want to sue. Further, it is also easy in a state of such anger to fail to realize that we may not have completely held up our end of the contract, which will end up being a costly mistake in a trial. Be encouraged to take the time to consult with a construction litigation attorney prior to making any decisions in a dispute. He or she can act as a voice of reason in suggestions some alternatives that may not have yet been considered, as well as provide an analysis of your potential case.

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