SUING A CONTRACTOR FOR POOR WORKMANSHIP
1. Review the contract.
Review the contract between you and the contractor to determine the specific terms of the agreement and any warranties or guarantees that may apply. Contracts largely govern the relationship and scope of work. But there are other theories that you may be able to hold a contractor liable. Keep in mind that it is VERY common for contracts to cite language that you are waiving warranties and waiving other legal rights, but those are often unenforceable against you. Moreover, there are other implied rights in a contract that you may have even if there are no terms apparent in the written contract. It is of course advisable seek assistance with a lawyer for suing a contractor for poor workmanship.
2. Give notice of the issue.
Before filing a lawsuit, you will need to provide the contractor with notice of the issue and give them an opportunity to address the problem. This is generally called a Notice of Claim under Colorado Defect Action Reform Act (“CDARA”).
3. Document the problem.
Document the poor workmanship with photographs, videos, and written descriptions of the issue.
4. Get an inspection.
You may need to hire an independent inspector to evaluate the work and provide a report on the issue. We aren’t all experts. Sometimes, work may not look right to lay persons and is in fact within a normal contractor would do. So you want to make sure you are on solid ground before spending a lot of money attempting to litigate a non-issue. Another good reason to get an inspection is a typical homeowner doesn’t always know of other issues that may be lurking in the background.
5. File a lawsuit.
If you are unable to resolve the issue, you may need to file a lawsuit in court. In most cases, you will need to hire a lawyer for suing a contractor for poor workmanship to represent you and prepare your case.
6. Attend mediation or arbitration.
Before going to trial, you may be required to attend mediation or arbitration to try to reach a settlement.
7. Go to trial.
If mediation or arbitration is unsuccessful, the case may proceed to trial. The judge or jury will hear the evidence and decide the outcome of the case.