Do I Need a Construction Law Attorney?

August 20, 2021
featured image

According to the John Marshall Law Review regarding Illinois construction negligence, since the 1970s the construction industry has a 60% higher national injury risk. Changes in standards continue to improve construction safety but adherence to safety standards is only one concern when working on a construction project.

A construction law attorney can handle legal needs as they arise. This includes employment law, construction defects, and negotiating government contracts. They will make sure that you follow construction regulations and if a conflict arises negotiate for you both in and out of court.

Disputes arise in all areas. Anyone from a large construction company to an individual property owner may be in need of representation.

The use of an attorney is always recommended. Let’s take a look at the reasons you may need a construction attorney.

Hire a Construction Law Attorney Before You Need One

There are many phases of and players in the construction process. This includes designers, contractors, material suppliers, construction crews, insurance needs, and real estate. Having the best construction contract lawyer near me ensures your project meets the expectations of all parties and is compliant with all construction regulations.

A construction law lawyer will provide assistance in all phases of the project, including:

  • Make sure you follow all local and federal building regulations
  • Creation of legal documents, including contracts
  • Need to obtain permits
  • Need government permission for your project
  • Need to conduct a town hearing
  • There are environmental regulation concerns
  • Disputes between employers and employees
  • Jobsite injury
  • Defective construction claims
  • You need to file a lawsuit
  • Someone files a lawsuit is against you

Having a retained attorney means you have legal counsel on your side guiding you through all aspects of your construction project who will handle disputes as they arise. This includes anything from non-payment to claims of defective work.

Construction is a high-risk work area. There may be claims for personal injury, workers’ compensation, working conditions, benefits, and more.

Construction Law

In Illinois, there is a 4-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit regarding the design, supervision, planning, observation, or management of construction.

Claims for indemnity from a construction contract do not fall under this statute. They have a 10-year statute of limitations if the contract is in writing. If it is an implied indemnity claim, the statute of limitations is only two years.

Licensing requirements for contractors vary within Illinois depending on the person’s area of specialty. For instance, roofing contractors and plumbers need a state license, but electricians only need to be locally licensed by their municipality.

Residential construction lawyers are familiar with Illinois’ implied warranty of habitability. This provides protection to those purchasing new homes when they discover there are construction defects.

The warranty protects both the original purchaser of the home, as well as any subsequent owners. This extension to subsequent buyers is set forth in Redarowicz v. Ohlendorf, 92 Ill. 2d 171 (1982).

The court’s finding is that both the initial buyer and any subsequent buyers normally have no knowledge of construction practices and must rely on the builder to construct it free of defects. If defects are found, then the builder who caused the defect is responsible for the repair.

When you hire a construction law attorney, they will be familiar with the various statute of limitations requirements and case law that supports your position.

Filing a lawsuit

Your construction law attorney will be familiar with the various legal claims that may be appropriate when filing a construction lawsuit. This includes negligence, breach of warranty, economic loss, strict liability, indemnity, and breach of contract.

In a breach of contract claim, the pleadings must prove each element:

  • That there is a valid and enforceable contract
  • That Plaintiff fulfilled their obligations or conditions precedent under the contract
  • That the Defendant breached their obligations under the contract
  • That Defendant’s breach is the direct and proximate cause of damages to the Plaintiff

The law requires that each element be listed in the pleadings and proven at trial. Your attorney will decide whether there are any other Defendants to be included in the lawsuit. This may include subcontractors in a third-party complaint.

Construction Lien

A construction lien is a claim made against the property and title of a construction project by a contractor or subcontractor who has not received payment for their work. The purpose of the lien is to protect the professional from the risk of not being paid for their services. A construction lien can only be filed if there is a contract for the work that includes details of what is to be done and the agreed-upon price. The contract does not have to be written.

The person who owns the property will not be able to sell or refinance the property until the lien on the property is clear. A construction lien lawyer can make sure that all legal requirements are met in filing a lien. They can also assist a property owner or contractor reach a resolution to the lien and secure its removal.

Mechanics Lien

A mechanics lien is another term for a construction lien. The mechanic’s lien is a legal document filed against the property to ensure the contractor receives payment before the property is mortgaged or sold. The lien is a matter of public record, so anyone accessing records will know of its existence and the owner’s failure to pay.

When performing mechanics lien services, your attorney will make sure that a clause is placed into all contracts that state the lien rights of a supplier are revoked upon receipt of the agreed-upon payment. This provides protection that a lien will not be filed without just cause. Your mechanics lien lawyer will know how to handle any disputes that arise from this type of lien.

Cost of Hiring Construction Lawyers

Every attorney establishes their own retainer fees and method of billing. This may vary depending on the type of service you need.

Some attorneys use an hourly billing rate. The way this is calculated varies from lawyer to lawyer, but billing is generally calculated on a percentage of the hour. When you hire an attorney they will advise you on how their billing arrangement works.

Attorneys may perform some services using a flat fee. This means you pay one fee to have specific work done, with no hourly billing.

Depending on the type of situation you have, there are times when a construction law attorney may bill on a contingency basis. This is a type of billing where you do not owe any attorney fees unless they win your case.

Do I Need a Construction Law Attorney?

Every construction project has the potential for smooth completion. Every project has the potential to end in a lawsuit.  However, which way it goes depends on a variety of factors.

You have control over some details, such as making sure you have a strong legal and enforceable contract. Other things are out of your control, such as installation of defective components or a worker suffering injuries on the job.

That is why you need a construction law attorney overseeing the legal aspects of your project. Grzymala Law Offices P.C. practices in all areas of construction law. We can handle your bond claims, mechanics liens, commercial litigation, and more.

Call 847-920-7286 to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys. You may also message us using our online contact form to schedule a consultation. We look forward to fulfilling your construction law needs.