Bakersfield Construction Dispute Lawyers
Construction Dispute Law in California
When a property owner and a general contractor contract for a construction project to take place on some property in Bakersfield, California, whether it's a house, some landscaping, or a remodeling project, there is always a gamble that something can go wrong. In fact, at least a very minor setback may be more likely than not.
Most often, landowners and construction contractors are able to resolve minor to moderate disputes between themselves, and litigation is rarely necessary. Nobody likes litigation, so, to this end, most construction contracts have built-in remedies in case something goes wrong, like set price reductions if construction is delayed.
Even if disagreements can't be resolved amongst the parties to the contract, they don't need to take their dispute into the court system. For instance, construction contracts typically call for mediation or arbitration before any disputes are resolved by the courts. Mediation is a process by which a third party serves as a sort of intermediary in settlement negotiations between the parties to the contract. The mediator can help keep negotiations on track, and suggest possible solutions the parties might not have thought of. The mediator can't issue a binding decision, however. Arbitration is a process through which the parties agree to have their dispute resolved by a third party, which can render a binding decision. Arbitration can be faster and cheaper than litigation, and it has some other advantages, as well.
Because of the large cost in time and money involved, litigation in Bakersfield, California is considered a last resort. However, in rare cases, it does become necessary.
Examples of Construction Disputes That Might Lead to Litigation in Bakersfield, California
Delays: If the contractor is culpable in a major delay in a construction project (a delay of weeks or months, for example), a lawsuit could result. If the contract specifically states that completion by a specific date is very important, or the builder has a good reason to know this, a court will often award the owner compensation for any economic harm caused by a delay.
Refusal to Pay: Disputes can also arise from a client's refusal or inability to hold up his end of the deal. Sometimes, once a project is complete, or nearly so, a landowner will express an unwillingness to pay the contractor for his services. There might be a variety of reasons for this - sudden loss of money, or dissatisfaction with the quality of the work are a few examples. It's rare that a client will refuse to pay a contractor simply because they don't feel like it (and if that is the reason, they'll typically come up with a better one to argue in court). In these cases, a court will sometimes have to decide if the client is obligated to pay the full price. If the work was, indeed, not up to the standards laid out in the contract, the contractor is not entitled to the full price, but is still entitled to the actual value of the work, even if it's considerably less than the contract price.
Subcontractors: Subcontractors are hired by general contractors to assist them in large construction projects, typically specialized tasks like installing plumbing. However, no matter how much of the work is performed by subcontractors, the general contractor (the one that the client actually hired to do the project) is liable to the landowner as if it were doing all the work itself. This basically means that, if a subcontractor messes up, the general contractor is the one who gets sued. But all is not lost in such a situation. If the general contractor has to compensate the owner because of the mistakes of a subcontractor, it can sue the subcontractor for whatever it had to pay to the landowner.
Mechanic's Liens: If the contractor sues a land owner and wins, he will likely obtain a monetary judgment. If the owner refuses to pay, the contractor needs some way to recover. This is where the mechanic's lien comes into play. It permits a contractor to force the sale of the land or other real property that he just worked on, and use those proceeds to cover costs.
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Can a Bakersfield, California Attorney Help?
Construction disputes can be time-consuming and costly. Hiring a knowledgeable Bakersfield, California real estate attorney can make it much easier to deal with such disputes, and help you avoid litigation, or prevail if litigation becomes necessary.
Construction Dispute Attorneys in the Largest CA Cities
Life in BakersfieldBakersfield, California is a city of over 300,000 people, located in Kern County, roughly at the midpoint between Los Angeles and Fresno. Bakersfield is considered one of the sunniest places in the United States.
Bakersfield, California's economy mostly revolves around oil and agriculture. Its other sectors largely operate in support of those major industries. In fact, Kern County is the most oil-productive county in the U.S. - and is responsible for about 10% of America's domestic oil production. Kern County is also one of the most agriculturally-productive regions in the United States, and is particularly well-suited for growing grapes, citrus fruit, roses, and almonds. Needless to say, Bakersfield is, and will continue to be, a very important part of America's economy.
More recently, however, other industries (such as manufacturing) have moved into Bakersfield, California, thanks to an abundance of inexpensive land.
In addition to the steady economic stimulus provided by industry, Bakersfield, California, has another relatively stable economic lifeline: a large four-year university. California State University, Bakersfield has approximately 7,800 students, from all over California, and the country.
It should go without saying, then, that there is no shortage of Bakersfield, California lawyers. Whatever legal issue you or a loved one might be facing, a Bakersfield, California lawyer can help.