Advice for Construction Firms Involved in a Dispute
Construction disputes can arise for a myriad of reasons. Most stem from the construction contract, including errors, omissions, or a failure to comply with the provisions set forth in the agreement. Some disputes stem from the bid process — others on the jobsite or well after a project is over. Although disputes are inevitable in construction, they can be mitigated or resolved entirely with the assistance of an experienced Chattanooga contractor attorney. If your company is facing a serious claim, reach out to the construction attorneys at Cotney Attorneys & Consultants today.
What Not To Do When Facing Litigation
Although it’s important for business owners to know what steps to take when facing litigation, it’s equally important that they know what steps not to take when dealing with a dispute. Here are four things our Chattanooga contractor attorneys recommend that you don’t do:
- Don’t Contact the Opposing Side: If the opposing side is pursuing legal action, don’t contact them and try to resolve the issue. Even if you have a longstanding business relationship with the entity pursuing litigation, it’s never a good idea to “reach out” to them. First off, the time to resolve an issue through conversation has passed when a lawsuit is filed. Second, your interactions during these conversations can negatively impact your case. Whether it’s a phone conversation, demand letter, email, or meeting in person, never engage in any form of contact without the representation of a Chattanooga construction lawyer.
- Don’t Hire Any Lawyer: You may have an attorney on your staff that focuses on contract review or your internal legal matters. You may have a friend or family member that has a successful legal practice. Regardless, you should not entrust a construction legal dispute to any legal professional that doesn’t focus on construction law. At Cotney Attorneys & Consultants, our Chattanooga construction lawyers have years of experience in construction litigation and solely represent professionals and businesses in the construction industry.
- Don’t Panic: Facing litigation is a stressful experience. There may be sleepless nights, arguments between staff members, and feelings will be vented from time to time. However, don’t allow your emotions to get the best of you. You need to manage your business, develop a clear understanding of what led to your dispute, keep your ducks in a row, and contact a construction attorney for legal advice.
- Don’t Hide the Truth: If you’re facing a serious legal matter, you will need to be transparent with your attorney about your position. In order for your construction attorney to be at their best while representing you, they need to obtain as much information as they can in order to have a complete understanding of your legal situation. When you’re effectively communicating with your construction attorney, they will determine what is relevant (or irrelevant) to your case.
What To Do When Facing Litigation
As we stated in the above section, if your construction firm is facing litigation, you will need a seasoned professional to represent you, one who understands construction law and the construction industry. Ideally, you’ll want an attorney that understands both the complicated aspects related to your type of case and the potential pitfalls. An experienced construction attorney can focus on the legal aspects of your case, developing a strategy, and request that you do the following:
- Do Preserve Documents: Recordkeeping is crucial for any legal matter. There will be certain documents you are legally obligated to maintain. There will also be specific documents valuable to your legal argument. Some information can be purged, some information will remain privileged, and other information may need to be shared with the opposing counsel. A construction attorney can advise you on how to proceed with all of these documents and more.
- Do Consider Your Options: When you’re effectively communicating with your legal counsel and preserving the right documents, your attorney can provide you with an honest assessment of your case. Some disputes are worth fighting for; whereas, others may be in your best interest to settle out of court. In some cases, you may be contractually obligated to pursue an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process before a trial can commence. There is no universal answer for your case; however, it’s important to keep an open mind and realistic expectations during any dispute.
- Do Prevent Future Issues: Any time your construction company faces litigation, it’s also a good time to assess your company policies and business practices to mitigate any future legal issues. This may include adding provisions to your employee handbook or revising them. Whether it’s ramping up employee training procedures or working with a construction lawyer to revise your handbook, it’s important to consider ways that you can improve your business practices and reduce the chances of future legal action.
Unfortunately, all it takes is one costly dispute to disrupt the years of hard work you spent building your business. If you are involved in a legal dispute, it’s critical that you partner with a construction attorney that can mitigate risks and help your business move forward.
If you would like to speak with our Chattanooga contractor attorneys, please contact us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.