A construction lawyer is an attorney who specializes in construction litigation and construction contract disputes, among other things. Most lawyers who work in construction litigation have a law degree and advanced education related to engineering, construction and building defects. This type of attorney may work in the private sector or public sector representing individuals, companies or insurers.
Some of the construction lawyer’s duties include representing the client and filing pleadings with the court including answers and complaints. The attorney also drafts and responds to discovery such as Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. Some of the documents the attorney may review in a construction case are blueprints, contracts, floor plans and inspection reports. After the attorney reviews the documents, the attorney may have his paralegal index the documents for exhibits in preparation of court.
Another aspect of a construction lawyer’s job is handling injury and wrongful death claims relating to construction accidents. Often, these accidents will result in both a worker’s compensation claim and a civil lawsuit. Usually the insured’s insurance company will ask the lawyer to represent him or her and evaluate liability and damages. If the attorney does not settle the case with the employee or legal representative, the construction lawyer will need to mediate the claim or go to court. Construction attorneys sometimes have to retain accident recreation experts who specialize in construction accidents to assist the attorney on the case and provide an expert opinion.
In addition to accidents and construction defects, construction lawyers also negotiate disputes between subcontractors and general contractors. These incidents may involve one general contractor and several subcontractors and could be about payment, work conditions, project deadlines or contract disagreements. If a project goes over the deadline for completion, the owner may impose penalties upon the general contractor who then may try to withhold payment from the subcontractors. The attorney may consult with the owner, project manager, general contractor and subcontractors to to resolve the dispute.
Mold litigation has really become a big part of a construction lawyer’s job. Mold can occur anywhere in a house or building and happens when moisture gets into the building and does not dry. Construction lawyers have to deal with alleged toxic mold cases and claims resulting from costs to remove mold from buildings or homes, the cost of which is often substantial.
Besides the litigation duties, the attorney also offers legal advice regarding liens, project bidding, property line disputes, highway construction and other general construction issues. Corporations may use the construction lawyer to draft documents regarding company liquidations and when buying land to build another company. Construction lawyers also give advice on bridge construction projects to make sure the project meets engineering codes and jurisdictional standards.