Florida Construction Law & Litigation

There can be many reasons for a construction lawsuit. Conflicts may arise between property owners and their contractors, developers, engineers or architects, and with neighboring property owners, or with local or state governments. Also, there may be issues with contracts or construction defects. Businesses and individuals may also be forced into court due to payment disputes or construction liens.

If you need help with such challenging matters, Herman & Wells offers experienced legal representation and flexible pricing options (depending on the circumstances, we may offer contingency fee, flat fee, deferred billing, and hourly billing) for construction law cases in Florida.

Ready to book a free legal consultation with one of our Florida construction law attorneys? Call (727) 821-3195 or use the contact form on this page. We'll get you in touch with an experienced attorney ASAP.

Development under investigation by Florida construction law attorneys

How Can Our Florida Construction Lawyers Help You?

Whether you have construction defects, lien issues, or other construction issues, our Florida construction lawyers can help you or your business. Our lawyers are prepared to protect your interests in contracts, mitigate your risks, and avoid potential problems. Therefore, it is crucial to consider hiring a construction lawyer before signing contracts, i.e., before a dispute occurs, rather than when the project has already begun.

When it comes to your construction dispute, we will go over the case with you and conduct an investigation to determine if there is a plausible case to move forward. This may involve gathering evidence and documents, and studying the events that led up to the conflict. In the case that you are the plaintiff, you may need to file a complaint and summons against the other party to begin your lawsuit. As a defendant, you've probably already received one of these. As a result, our lawyers would investigate the allegations against you and draft any necessary responses to defend you.

Case Results

See More Case Results

Hurricane Michael Insurance Claim for Commercial Building in Florida

Our client filed a commercial insurance claim for their building after it sustained significant damages from Hurricane Michael. Initially, our client’s insurance company only offered $94 for their commercial insurance claim. Their initial position was that most of the damage was caused by wear and tear, and not covered by the insurance policy. Unsurprisingly, our client was not pleased with this response and chose to talk to Jason Herman. Our team of expert insurance dispute lawyers reviewed the details of the client’s Hurricane Michael claim and was shocked at what this insurance company was trying to get away with. Jason and Warren Duffy ended up taking this case to trial against the insurance company and were successful in advocating for our client. The jury ended up awarding $717,523.94, on a Replacement Cost Basis for this Hurricane Michael insurance claim. The client could not have been happier as our insurance dispute lawyers were awarded exactly what they were seeking for our client in this impressive verdict.

Initial Position

Underpaid Claim

$717,523.94

Underpaid Commercial Insurance Claim

Hurricane winds damaged our client’s apartment complex, causing roof damage and interior water damage.  The insurance company paid $100,000, which was not enough money to cover the cost of repairs.  We filed a lawsuit against the insurance company and recovered an additional $228,000 for our client, bringing the total payment up to $328,000.  This allowed our client to fully repair the storm damage.

Initial Position

Underpaid

$228,000.00

What Types of Cases Do Our Construction Lawyers Handle?

Construction lawyer reviews disputed contract in Florida

Contract Disputes

Construction contracts outline the obligations and risks that each party agrees to assume. Although standard construction contracts have been published by the American Institute of Architects and other trade organizations, using a standard construction contract alone does not eliminate the risk that a contract dispute will arise.

A construction dispute can arise in a variety of ways due to the nature of construction projects. A few of the most common construction disputes we handle are errors and omissions, delays, differing site conditions, failure to comply with the terms of the construction contract, and the inadequate or deficient quality of materials, and breach of an express or written warranty claims.

Construction Payment Disputes

Payment disputes involving construction projects may be caused by a variety of factors. Many payment disputes revolve around contracts, whether one party misunderstood the terms before signing or the other party failed to comply with the terms of the arrangement. Disputes over back charges and change orders are also a major concern for many owners and contractors alike.

The proper handling of a payment dispute is crucial, especially since these disputes can lead to litigation. In some cases, people can avoid litigation by engaging in informal settlement discussions or through pre-suit mediation, but in other cases, the issue must be resolved in court. Consult one of our Florida Construction law attorneys to understand your legal options.

Construction Defect Litigation

Defects in construction may result from faulty workmanship, insufficient design, and from material deficiencies. We assist community associations, owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, and designers in identifying and solving potential defects, and in efficiently and effectively resolving claims through arbitration, mediation, and trial.

In the event of a decrease in the value of your home, condominium, or other property due to a defect in design or workmanship, our attorneys have access to a network of independent experts who can help you prove it so that you receive the compensation you need.

Construction Lien Law

In Florida, those who perform work on your property or furnish materials and services but are not paid in full can seek to enforce their claim for payment against your property under the Construction Lien Law (Section 713.001-713.37, Florida Statutes).

Contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, suppliers, and other lienors may look to your property if they are not paid. This is true even if you have already paid your contractor. A lien may also be placed on your property if you fail to pay your contractor.

In the event a lien is filed, your property may be sold against your will to pay for labor, materials, or other services that your contractor may not have paid. We represent associations and owners seeking to foreclose on or defend against construction liens.

Community Associations

According to a recent article, over 9.5 million people in Florida live in HOA Communities. The Florida Condominium Act was adopted in 1976. However, it was not until 1992 that Florida adopted laws and statutes to regulate HOAs.

Although the statutes that regulate condominium associations and HOAs, Chapters 718 and 720 of the Florida Statutes, contain numerous similarities, there are significant differences.

Importantly, Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, imposes certain implied warranties of fitness and merchantability on developers, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. The warranties are complex. Please call us today if you think you have a warranty claim, and would like to schedule a free consultation.

Insurance Coverage Disputes

A construction project may be covered by a variety of different types of insurance policies and bonds. Three common types of liability insurance policies are:

  1. A comprehensive general liability policy (CGL)
  2. An architect's or engineer's professional liability policy
  3. A policy covering a specific project, such as a wraparound policy or an owner-controlled insurance policy (OCIP).

A majority of Herman & Wells' cases are devoted to the construction defect, insurance defense, and insurance coverage fields.

Florida community association under investigation during construction litigation case

How Can Our Florida Construction Lawyers Help You?

Whether you have construction defects, lien issues, or other construction issues, our Florida construction lawyers can help you or your business. Our lawyers are prepared to  protect your interests in contracts, mitigate your risks, and avoid potential problems. Therefore, it is crucial to consider hiring a construction lawyer before signing contracts, i.e., before a dispute occurs, rather than when the project has already begun. 

When it comes to your construction dispute, we will go over the case with you and conduct an investigation to determine if there is a plausible case to move forward. This may involve gathering evidence and documents, and studying the events that led up to the conflict. In the case that you are the plaintiff, you may need to file a complaint and summons against the other party to begin your lawsuit. As a defendant, you've probably already received one of these. As a result, our lawyers would investigate the allegations against you and draft any necessary responses to defend you.

Common Reasons To Contact a Construction Litigation Attorney

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Bringing in a construction lawyer early on can help keep a dispute under control. A construction lawyer might prove helpful in common causes for construction litigation like project delays, contract errors, quality of work, and nonpayment.

The following are examples of when someone may want to contact a construction law attorney in Florida:

Trying to Decide if a Lawsuit is Necessary

If you are considering taking legal action following a contract dispute or after discovering a significant construction defect, you should consult with a construction litigation lawyer. While most construction law firms typically charge an hourly rate, Herman & Wells is able to work with clients on a flat fee, contingency fee, deferred fee basis.

Choosing the Right Course of Action

During times when payments aren’t being received, construction businesses have several tools at their disposal. An experienced construction lawyer will be able to help you decide which ones are most appropriate, most feasible, and most cost effective.

Job Site Injury

After a construction site accident, both the injured worker and their employer will need the services of a construction lawyer. Worker's compensation claims and injury claims can become very complicated. With the assistance of a lawyer, things can be kept on track and hopefully out of court.

Defective Construction Claims

The most common cause of construction litigation is claims of defective construction. Our attorneys have handled construction defect cases from the pre-suit, Chapter 558 claim process, through litigation. Taking Action on a Contract

Is there a clause in the contract that you wish to exercise, such as a termination clause? Taking action like ending a contract or escalating an amount of money might be permitted by a contract, but proceeding without due caution could turn into a liability situation. Getting legal advice before you exercise contractual options will help you avoid some pitfalls. A construction lawyer's guidance is invaluable before the agreement is signed or before any action is taken.

Here's what to do next

1.

Call the firm or fill out our contact form.

2.

Pick a convenient time to meet with one of our construction law attorneys virtually or in person.

3.

Get upfront answers to your questions during a free legal consultation.

Contingency Fee & Flat Fee Pricing Options

Call (727) 821-3195 now for a free consultation with no strings attached. Find out what your rights are.

Effective Methods for Resolving Serious Construction Disputes

 

Disputes can arise on construction projects in a myriad of different ways. Herman & Wells, P.A. has the experience necessary to help you resolve your case in a cost effective and efficient manner. Construction disputes may be resolved through a variety of methods, including the following:

Negotiations Directly Between Parties

Negotiation is usually the first step in resolving a dispute. Before moving forward to other dispute resolution methods, parties in dispute negotiate in order to reach an amicable resolution between themselves. As well as being the least expensive, it could yield the most immediate results. In the event that the meetings do not result in results, at least they identify the actual points of disagreement so parties are aware of where they stand.

Mediation and Arbitration

In this context, it is essential to distinguish between "arbitration" and "mediation." The latter is a form of negotiation that attempts to resolve a construction-related dispute through third-party mediation. As opposed to judging, the mediator assists the parties and does not act as a judge. As opposed to mediation, arbitration involves submitting the dispute to a single arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators, who then decide the case and render a legally binding decision. The purpose of arbitration is to avoid litigation. As a result, under most circumstances, the party that loses at arbitration cannot then request a rehearing in a Florida court.

Litigation

Trials in litigation are legally binding and enforceable. These are the most thorough, complicated, and expensive dispute resolution procedures. Due to its long timeline, most parties opt for other dispute resolution procedures instead.

Keeping Records

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in construction is to rely on an oral agreement. Make sure everything is written down. Among the records that should be kept are notices, letters, emails, photos, and diaries. A construction project is expensive, and if you don't put everything in writing, you might lose a lot of money. Keeping records ensures that there are no doubts about who agreed to what.

Lawyer reviewing the policy limits after a verdict

How Does the Construction Litigation Process Work in Florida?

In order to begin the construction litigation process, you must file a claim. There are many types of disputes that may arise during construction as mentioned earlier. These include disputes regarding payments, performance, insurance, compliance, professional conduct, etc A Florida construction litigation process will look like the following steps:

Step 1: Case Investigations

Your construction litigation attorney collects evidence through a case investigation. This is the first step in any lawsuit, whether it's related to construction or not, because you have to determine if there's enough evidence to proceed. Your construction litigation lawyer could waste thousands of dollars on court and attorney fees pursuing a case that has no chance of success if they don't begin your case with this step or gather evidence poorly for you.

Step 2: Pleadings

Your Florida construction litigation attorney will prepare a summons and complaint to formally initiate the lawsuit. Upon drafting documents, the defendant will be served with them. You should immediately contact a reputable construction litigation attorney if you are the one receiving the summons and complaint. A lawyer can investigate the allegations made against you once you hire them. Furthermore, they can return a response to the plaintiff's attorney.

Step 4: Pre-Trial

After discovery, you can reach a summary judgment in certain cases. If, however, this is not the case in your case, you will move into pre-trial. Your construction litigation attorney begins preparing for trial at this stage by consulting with experts, retaining witnesses, attending pre-trial conferences, and developing a trial strategy based on the facts and evidence gathered in the previous phases.

Step 5: Trial

Each construction litigation lawyer makes a statement at the beginning of the trial. They then explain how their cases are stronger and how their opponents are weaker. In making these claims, the construction litigation attorney uses evidence, as with the entire trial process. Your construction litigation attorney will prepare and present the opening statement as well as develop persuasive arguments with testimony and evidence, draft and argue trial motions, and examine and cross-examine witnesses in addition to opening and closing statements. As outlined above, each of these actions is intended to show the judge or jury how strong your case is and what weaknesses your opponent's case contains.

Step 3: Discovery Phase

In a lawsuit, discovery refers to the process of both parties sharing relevant information about the case. Documents such as contracts and blueprints are typically exchanged during discovery.

Nevertheless, other construction site material that may be relevant to the case can also be exchanged. You can also obtain this evidence through requests for production, requests for admission, depositions, and interrogatories from your construction litigation lawyer. Typically, these tactics are sufficient to get the evidence you’ll need. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may ask the judge for a protective order or a motion to compel.

As a last resort, if in the course of discovery or after discovery your construction litigation counsel believes the evidence is so overwhelming that it is pointless to proceed to trial, they may request a summary judgment from the judge. A judge will take undisputed facts and apply applicable law to them if one party files this motion. In that case, the judge decides whether a settlement can be reached without going to court.

Step 6: Settlement/ Verdict

Settlements can occur at any stage of the litigation process. A settlement will be reached through negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, and a settlement conference. Common materials used during a settlement process include setting a case of settlement, both parties will conduct negotiations and alternative dispute resolution methods, given by the judge or jury.

Step 7: Appeal

If you lose your lawsuit, your attorney can appeal the verdict regardless of which side you're on. After a construction litigation attorney drafts post-trial motions, identifies what issues to address on appeal, devises strategies for how to argue your case during the appeal trial, discovers new evidence to support your case, drafts new court documents, retries the case, and finally drafts new documents for the court.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Good Construction Litigation Attorney in Florida?

A construction lawyer's payment terms are the largest determinant of how much they charge. Your lawyer's payment terms are outlined in your contract. Each lawyer has their own payment terms, which may differ significantly from one lawyer to the next. Many lawyers charge an hourly fee for their services. This payment is a method that construction companies are familiar with, and it also makes it easier to calculate how much the project will cost. An attorney can provide you with an estimate of the overall time it will take to handle your case based on similar cases they've handled before. Hourly payment terms have the downside of rising costs beyond what you expect.

Retainers are contracts that require a company to pay a lawyer regularly (usually monthly) to handle a specific amount of legal work. If a business expects to be involved in legal disputes frequently, it may consider a retainer. Another payment option is a flat rate. Legal work is sometimes done for a flat rate, meaning a single payment. The scope of work may be significantly reduced when working with a flat rate lawyer. For instance, a flat rate might cover only one legal action. Additional legal services outside the scope of the original contract would be paid separately.

Despite being uncommon in construction cases, other lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means they are only paid if they win your case. Our Construction litigation attorneys are able to offer contingency fee agreements for construction law cases.

Herman & Wells Offers Contingency Fee Agreements For Construction Litigation Cases

Although law firms may have traditionally handled construction cases on an hourly fee basis, Heman & Wells may offer contingency fee and flat fee pricing. Please call us today to schedule a free consultation, and we will be happy to explain our the legal pricing options.

Schedule a Free Consultation With One of Our Construction Lawyers

Complex contractual issues, liability concerns, compliance concerns, or a construction dispute are likely to raise the stakes for the project and for you. The difference between costly delays and being able to move forward can be made with the expert legal advice of construction litigation attorneys. For a free consultation, contact our construction attorneys.