In 2016, the American construction industry was estimated to have a value of a whopping $1.162 trillion, and all across the nation, there are endless construction projects being launched for suburban homes and neighborhoods, hotels and apartment buildings, shopping malls, banks, schools, office buildings, and more. This will involve multiple construction crews working together on a project to get it done, and this level of cooperation is only possible when attorneys who specialize in construction law are present to make sure that all paperwork is done right away, and that such paperwork is legally binding, practical, and fair for all parties involved so that the project can get underway. And if something does go wrong on the project, such as a worker getting injured, expensive equipment getting damaged from misuse, or someone wrongfully canceling the project, hiring a lawyer may be the best step to preventing legal and financial issues, and commercial real estate law and attorneys are out there to help any party with a problem. Even late invoices can be handled with commercial litigation of one construction crew is late paying another as per the contract.
Work and the Law
Plenty of law firms are ready to help represent construction crews or even individual workers who have been wronged somehow, and there are larger, national bodies that exist to handle bigger cases, such as the American Arbitration Association, or the AAA. As of 2015, the AAA administered a total of 551 construction industry cases whose claims were each $500,000 or more, and among them, the largest mediated case was worth a massive $2.6 billion, and the single largest arbitration case had a value of $96 million. Overall, the total value for claims and counterclaims in that year came out to $5.5 billion. Similarly, the AAA has revealed that the biggest single case resolved by one arbitrator was worth $232 million, and by contrast, the smallest case (which had three arbiters working on it) was worth a modest $23,000. Often, such cases are settled pre-trial, but in any case that comes up, the involved lawyers will know what to do and it may or may not end up in court.
What Attorneys do for the Work Site
Lawyers for construction companies have plenty to handle, even if nothing actually goes wrong. As mentioned above, attorneys will look over, revise, or draft contracts, agreements to payments, and other paperwork for the safety of all crews and equipment involved, not to mention make sure that the project itself follows state and federal codes and regulations for construction and safety, such as fire safety codes. A crew will have its own lawyer on retainer, or it may reach out to a construction law firm to find representation for this phase of the process.
A number of things may go wrong during a construction case, and attorneys can help if a single worker or an entire contractor crew is in trouble. If a worker gets injured on the work site, for example, that worker will want to get legal aid for finding a settlement, and this may involve that worker finding a personal injury lawyer if need be. Workers may get body parts trapped in machines or crushed under heavy items, or they may be exposed to open flames, inhale dangerous fumes or airbo0rne particles (lung issues are common), or they may get hit by a construction vehicle whose operator wasn’t looking. Similarly, attorneys may be brought in to help if a crew’s expensive equipment was damaged through negligence or careless action, such as hitting something with an excavator, damaging another vehicle with a forklift or backhoe, or damaging a jackhammer or spray foam rig.
Late invoices or absent payments may also call for the aid of attorneys, and a crew expecting a payment can use this legal help if another party is not honoring the invoices outlined in the initial paperwork. Finally, if a work site is troubled with constant late payments, or if it goes over budget or if injuries or equipment damage keep happening, a crew may use attorneys to launch the termination of a project before any more expensive damage or harm takes place. Lawyers can also look into wrongful termination cases if need be.