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Construction Delayed? Here’s What You Should Know

Construction delays could lead to lawsuits between the property owner and the contractor, with both parties having the ability to sue the other. Both parties could end up suing each other in court cases and counterclaims. Before proceeding legally, it is important to understand the cause of the delay.

Not All Delays Mean Legal Liability

Some construction delays are unavoidable. For example, inclement weather could slow down construction. These could fall into the category of excusable delays. However, other delays may be caused by negligence or intentional actions. Whoever is to blame for the delay could face legal liability. 

If the property owner is the cause of the delay, the contractor incurs extra costs for labor and renting equipment. Contractors may also forgo other work while they maintain the capacity to complete the delayed job. Property onwers can cause delays by changing the design or not making the property available when the contractor is able to work.  There may be specific contractual provisions that apply to these types of delays.

Lawsuits Against a Contractor for the Delay

However, oftentimes, it is the contractor who is the source of the delay. They could run into construction difficulties or not have enough people to do the job. The contract between the parties may give the property owner the legal right to seek compensation for certain delays. The delay must be unreasonable before the homeowner would be entitled to compensation unless there is a specific liquidated damages provision. The contract should define what would be considered unreasonable.   

The facts of the case could also determine what is unreasonable. For example, if contractors are late because they are not diligently working, they could be liable. However, unreasonable delay cases are not easy wins for the plaintiff because they will need to overcome the contractor’s excuses for the delay. The contractor could have a colorable argument for why they were late. Just because contractors are late does not mean that they must automatically pay damages unless there is a liquidated damages provision expressly provision for liability and payment of damages. 

Consulting with a Construction Attorney

Not every delay must lead to a lawsuit. Many court cases are avoided when attorneys from both sides engage early and come up with a solution. In some cases, they can renegotiate the contract to stay out of court. However, it is crucial that each party engage a construction attorney early in any possible dispute to work out the issues if the parties cannot work things out on their own. Hiring an attorney could help parties understand their legal rights and options.

What Our Clients Say

My family and I are thankful to Maddox, Segerblom and Canepa for their assistance during a three year case regarding construction defects to our home. We are truly appreciative of their knowledge, determination and assistance during this process. They were always courteous, and available to answer any and all of our concerns and questions. Thank you for the wonderful resolution. Many thanks to you and your staff.

Frances Castelli

We used Maddox, Segerblom & Canepa to represent us in a legal suit re problems in construction on new properties that we purchased from a developer.

We were very pleased with the representation provided by this law firm. They were fully communicative, responsive to our questions and were very knowledgeable about the issues that required resolution. Even after we reached a resolution, they have been responsive in making sure to point us in the right direction for help with repairs that are required.

We would recommend them to others with similar issues that require legal help.

Atam & Margo Lalchandani

Maddox, Segerblom & Canepa did a FANTASTIC job in our construction defects case. I interacted with several people from their office throughout our 2 year litigation. Their staff is friendly, knowledgeable and always prompt about getting back to you when you have questions/comments/concerns. I especially enjoyed working with Darcy, Ardea, Eva, and Sandra. Being part of a lawsuit is no fun for anyone, but if you have to be a part of one, I can’t say enough positive things about this firm!

Victoria Fox

The law firm of Maddox, Segerblom, and Canepa were amazing to work with. They were thorough and always available for any questions we had. We worked a lot with Sandy who was always professional, friendly, always on time for appointments and just a great person to represent this firm. We have never been involved in a law suit before and they made it comfortable for us. We appreciate the hard work the lawyers and people who work for the firm did and would recommend them.

Becky Loudenburg
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