Serving Construction Law clients in Benton, Franklin, and surrounding counties
Get The Help You Need in the Tri-Cities
Construction law is the area of law that generally deals with owners, contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, suppliers, and consumers in the construction industry. The construction industry can be broken down into two broad categories: commercial and residential. At Aultman Law, my focus is on residential construction litigation.
Sometimes projects do not turn out as planned. A project may have been improperly designed so it is unsafe or is substandard construction. A contractor may have used the wrong materials. Or a defect may have been included in the original drawings and plans. Whether the problem was the result of improper design or defective construction or both, the problem is often due to miscommunications or misunderstandings that can be resolved out of court. With over 15 years of experience as a construction litigation attorney, I have represented many different parties in the construction industry, including the following:
- general contractors
- civil engineers
- geotechnical engineers
- property owners
What Kinds of Claims Can a Construction Lawyer Help You With?
My firm is dedicated to representing clients in a variety of residential construction litigation matters, including:
- contractor disputes
- design disputes
- breaches of contract
- breaches of warranty
- contractor negligence
- construction dispute resolution
Damages Recoverable In Residential Construction Cases
There are three primary categories of monetary damages that may be recoverable under Washington State law in residential construction litigation cases. These are damages caused by:
- a breach of contract
- a permanent loss in value
- construction delays
Why You Need An Experienced Residential Construction Litigation Attorney
Residential construction litigation can be complex. It requires an attorney to be knowledgeable about the law and residential construction methods. If you are thinking about filing a construction defect lawsuit or believe you will be the target of such a lawsuit, Washington State has some unique requirements.
Before a person can sue a contractor for construction defects, a property owner must give written notice to the contractor listing the alleged defects. The written notice must be given to the contractor at least 45 days before filing a lawsuit. The notice is mandatory for defects in the construction or remodels of residential projects.
After receiving written notice of the alleged defects, a contractor has 21 days to respond. The contractor can respond in several ways. The contractor can request an opportunity to inspect the residence. The property owner can deny the request to inspect. If the property owner agrees to the inspection, the contractor has 14 days after the inspection to offer to fix the defects or to make a settlement offer. Finally, the contractor can respond with a letter disputing the alleged defects or not respond at all.
The purpose of the notice requirement is to encourage property owners and contractors to discuss their dispute in hopes they will resolve it out of court. In some instances, the parties are able to resolve their dispute during the notice period, which the parties can agree to extend. It is worth repeating that the written notice is mandatory. If a property owner files a lawsuit against a contractor before sending a written notice, the lawsuit will be dismissed until the owner complies with the law.
Residential Construction Litigation Deadlines
Residential construction litigation also has two important deadlines property owners and contractors should be aware of. First, there is a statute of limitations deadline. Second, there is a statute of repose deadline. I will post a thorough explanation of these deadlines in a future blog. For now, it is important to understand that these deadlines can be confusing and are not always straightforward. Therefore, you should hire experienced construction litigation.
How Do You Know You Need A Construction Litigation Attorney?
Construction litigation can be highly technical. If you have questions about your rights or obligations, you need the assistance of a construction litigation attorney. Most matters can be resolved without an expensive courtroom battle. In fact, your contract may determine how your matter should be resolved.
If you need help with a construction litigation matter in Benton, Franklin, or surrounding counties, contact my office today.