Any construction claims expert will tell you that going to trial is the least preferable outcome to solve a claim. When a claim is filed, the ideal scenario is to expedite the solution and get back to work. The process may be as simple as filing the proper paperwork and waiting for the judgment. For more complicated legal challenges, mediation may be required. Here is a quick breakdown for anyone to refer back to before you bring construction claims to trial.
In a basic claim, which can deal with a whole host of problems, you’ll need to gather your own paperwork to prove you’ve done what you were contracted to do. You won’t need to hire a construction expert witness. Proving these claims is usually a simple matter of documenting key details of the contracted agreement.
Failure to do so usually means the claim will be elevated to the next level, which could be mediation.
Construction mediation has to be agreed upon by both parties, but it’s a useful method to try and solve disputes. Mediation involves both parties in the dispute making their case before a third party who is both neutral and impartial. Their role is to review the facts at hand, and to help devise a solution both parties can adhere to. Mediation may or may not be legally binding, so even after a decision has been rendered a party may take the issue to court, but it’s preferable to a lengthy and expensive trial without exhausting any other options.
It’s also helpful in preserving working relationships long term.
Lyle Charles has more than 30 years of experience in the commercial construction industry as a construction claims expert and mediator.