Unfortunately, dealing with defect claims is a common aspect of the construction industry. These claims can cause irreparable damage to your reputation and bottom line, putting your career and future job opportunities in jeopardy. There are a variety of actions you can take after, and even before, a defect claim is filed to protect your rights and best interests.
The following are the several things you need to do if you get sued for a defective product:
- Contact an attorney – If you do not have legal representation, you must obtain service from a lawyer immediately. You only have a short window of time to answer a lawsuit as soon as it is served. If you fail to answer within the appropriate amount of time, the plaintiff can obtain a judgment against you—even if you did not do anything wrong. Lawyers need as much time as possible to evaluate the situation and build a strong case.
- Contact your insurance provider – In many instances, your insurance company will hire an attorney for you (or pay for yours) and pay to settle the lawsuit, if necessary. Before you begin a project, it is wise to review your insurance policy to determine what circumstances you are covered for and what your coverage includes.
- Look at the job file – One of the most important parts of defending yourself from a defect claim is proper documentation. Since these claims are often filed years after a project is finished, so documents may be the only source of information about what occurred on the job site. You may provide your attorney with contracts, inspection reports, blueprints, daily logs, change orders, and even meeting minutes.