If you believe you have a strong legal civil claim against your home builder, don’t rush to court right away. You may be able to recover your damages you’re entitled to more cost effectively and with less stress by using either of the following options:
- Demand letter. Send a demand letter to the responsible contractor asking for the total costs to repair the defects in question.
- Mediation. Tell the contractor about the issue and — assuming they are against to compensating you or willing to fix the problem right away –request if they would cooperate and to go to mediation with you.
Final Resort: Filing a Lawsuit
If resolving your dispute using one of the methods above is not a viable option, you’ll have to consider filing a lawsuit. If the construction issue will cost less to repair personally than to try to pursue in court, you might as well right off this as a lesson. If not, however, you shouldn’t have to pay for someone’s poor workmanship and or unethical practices.
Here’s some directions for filing a lawsuit:
- Make sure you’re within the Statute of Limitations . Every state in the USA puts a time limit on how long you have, from the date you discover a problem to file a lawsuit. Courts don’t want old cases taken to court 10 years after the issue, when neither party recalls exactly what happened.The majority of statutes of limitations are somewhere between 3 and 9 years, but it depends on your location and what classification of claim you have.Inquire about your state’s laws on this matter with either by searching online or by contacting your state or personal attorney.
- Consider going to Small Claims Court. Small claims court allows you to proceed with your case without a lot of overhead and high expense of regular court. You can represent yourself in many cases and the rules are not usually as strict, and your case should be resolved in short order. However, all states place a maximum dollar limit on the amount of damages you typically can sue for – somewhere between $2,500 and $25,000 is typical. Even if the overall damages are over the limit — for example, if the total repairs cost $10,000 and the limit is $6,000 — filing a suit for $6,000 and forgetting about the rest might make monetary sense because you will save time and attorney’s fees.
- Bringing suit in State Court. If the overall sum of money damages you’re suing for goes higher than the small claims court limit, your best option is then to file suit in state court. Attorneys usually will take this type of case on a contingency basis, which means that you don’t pay a fee upfront but pay a large percentage (25-50%) of the total awarded damages. However,you may still be on the hook for paying court costs and other fees.When bringing suit in state court there is always a risk on both sides so make sure you know what you are getting into and be cautious.