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Want to sue a contractor?

Are you unhappy with a contractor such as a builder or an HVAC installation company, Plumbing Company or even pest control, and you had entrusted the, with a project? Perhaps they did not carry out the Job according to what you expected. The disagreement between you and the contractor should not stress you much because there is a solution. You can either take legal action against the contractor or decide to settle the issue through mediation if you can't come to some kind of agreement between you both.

In ordinary life, it is crucial to sit down and think properly before filing a lawsuit. The case is not different in a situation where you feel like suing a contractor. Before using a contractor, it is worth asking answering the following questions.

a) Is it a good case?

b) Would you be fine if you could settle the case outside the court through mediation?

c) Will you be able to go with the judgment issued at the end of the case?

If you happen to have "no" for any of the three questions, you may consider keeping off the court.

What is a good case?

Any lawsuit can be broken down into components as required by the law. A good case is the one that has satisfactory prove to the following elements.

a. Breach of Contract

suing a contractor
Photographer: Sebastian Herrmann | Source: Unsplash

You, as the plaintiff in a case, must have a reason as to why you wish to sue a contractor. Let's assume you signed a contract with a builder to renovate your house, but upon paying, he or she vanishes after working halfway. In such a case, you can sue the builder in the sense that – he broke the signed contract. Before filing a lawsuit, ensure that you can prove that there was a valid contract between you and the contractor. It would be straightforward if you had a written contract signed by the two parties. In a case where you had an oral agreement, you might have difficulties in proving that a valid contract existed. You should be able to show that you kept your side of the bargain in terms and conditions of the agreement. In the above example, if you had already fulfilled your side of the deal by paying the contractor, then you are okay to proceed.

You must prove that the contractor failed to keep his or her side of the bargain. It is good to show and prove the damage you have been caused where, for instance; you had your business stop. You can include the loss while calculating the loss.

b. Negligence

In a case where a contractor's negligence caused you to harm you can proceed into filing a lawsuit if;

1. The contractor owes a duty to you (the plaintiff). If someone owes you a duty, it means that they were required to do something that they did not do leading to suffering or loss.

2. The contractor (defendant) breached a contract if you can show that the defendant failed to act responsibly in fulfilling a duty owed to you, and then you can file a case.

3. You can show that if it were not for the actions of the contractor, the injuries or loss wouldn't have hit.

4. The loss incurred is a proximate cause, which means that the action by the defendant must be proximate to you.

B. Settlement and Mediation

Even though you feel the contractor is in the wrong and that you have all it takes to sue him or her, you still have a few things to consider before filing a case.

Are you ready to settle the case outside the court through mediation?

In most cases, you might feel that it is wise to hold a meeting with the other party, talk about the issue, and get a resolution. There are mediation services offers which could be an option if not in a position of sitting down with the contractor by you. It is essential to try mediation before suing a contractor, and in the real sense, most contracts have an arbitration clause.

C. Will you be happy with the judgment?

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It is essential to consider the possible outcome of the lawsuit. Imagine a case where a money judgment is made, but the defendant is not able to pay the amount even if you win. The court has powers to entitle you into being repaid but cannot help you get the compensation.

Closing Remarks

It is vital to have a careful consideration of the contractor you want to sue. If you feel that the judgment will be an enormous sum of money, only sue the contractor who can pay. Always consider different ways of addressing the issue before suing. After careful consideration, you will be able to decide if to file a lawsuit or not.

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