In the highly developed United States, there is a constant need to construct new houses, schools, shopping malls, banks, offices, and libraries, and more beyond that. But these buildings do not come out of nowhere; many construction firms across the country are hard at work to build anything from a small suburban home all the way to a skyscraper, and for a project of any size, there must be professional and effective cooperation and coordination between construction crews during a project. This involves a lot of paperwork that is based on promised payments (invoices), a schedule for the project, and more such as complying with safety and construction regulations and law, and liability for injured workers or damaged equipment. The average construction worker is bound to the signed paperwork, while attorneys for construction crews will write, examine, and enforce this paperwork to ensure that all professionals involved in a project act as they should. A construction attorney is no ordinary attorney; he or she will have a specialization in construction law, from handling personal injury cases on the construction site all the way to upholding fire and safety regulations. What else might these attorneys do? Will commercial litigation with construction attorneys generate a big case if something goes wrong?
Construction and Law
The American construction industry is a big one; as of 2016, for a recent example, it was worth nearly $1.162 trillion, an impressive amount. This industry employs many thousands of people, ranging from the construction workers to those who build and maintain the bulldozers and backhoes to contractor crew managers all the way to the attorneys who use construction law to keep a project smooth and ensure that everyone is treated fairly. But sometimes, there may be a problem during a project, and should this happen, litigation with the aid of construction attorneys or similar lawyers may follow, and some cases can be enormous. The American Arbitration Association, the AAA, has released information showing that the single largest cas4e resolved by one arbitrator was for a huge $232 million, compared to the smallest, worth only $23,000. Similarly, in 2015, the AAA administered some 551 construction law cases that each had claims of $500,000 or higher. The largest of the mediated cases was worth $2.6 billion, and the total for all claims and counter-claims came out to $5.5 billion. This is a lot of money. What might happen to prompt construction workers or managers to pursue litigation during a project?
What Might Go Wrong
A construction site is, unfortunately, rife with potential hazards. Construction workers are exposed to pulmonary hazards, for example, since it is common for such workers to inhale noxious fumes from motors or spray foam chemicals during a job, or they may inhale fine, airborne silica that can easily damage the lungs and harm the eyes as well. Workers also face blunt trauma, such as slipping and falling from a considerable height on a slick floor, or workers might get arms or legs trapped in machines or crushed under heavy weights. Workers might even get hit by a moving vehicle whose operator is not looking.
Paperwork might be an issue, too. Invoices may end up being paid late or not at all, and this can be a real problem. Or, a construction worker or entire crew might violate safety or construction laws or regulations and slow down the project once the city or other official body steps in. Some crews may delay the project and put it far behind schedule, or withdraw from a project early.
Construction attorneys are there to help deal with such complications. Where injuries are concerned, such attorneys may represent that worker in litigation against a perceived at-fault party, or the construction lawyer may help the worker find a personal injury law firm nearby. Construction lawyers will also take action about late or missing invoices, and they can review all paperwork before a project starts to ensure that everyone is being treated fairly. On top of all this, a construction attorney may intervene if a contractor crew tries to launch wrongful termination of a project, or conversely, end a project that is far over budget or if too many injuries are taking place.