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When is it time to litigate?

If you get into a dispute with a construction contract, you likely don’t want the matter to end up in court. It costs time and money, and it keeps you from getting more work done.

However, there are times when litigation may be the best option. Here are three instances when taking the dispute to the courtroom may be appropriate:

1. If the contract does not include an arbitration clause

While many construction contracts will include a clause that mandates any disputes use arbitration as the sole method for resolution, this isn’t always the case. Arbitration can be cost effective, but not in every circumstance.

2. Mediation has failed

Many contract disputes try mediation as a resolution method. Attorneys will recommend mediators that help both parties identify the important issues in the dispute and solve them. However, mediation is nonbinding. If it’s not working, parties can walk away and decide to litigate. In many cases, if you are not working toward the outcome you need through the process, there is room to end mediation and go to court.

3. If the other party is unresponsive

If you are trying to resolve an issue and the other party stops communicating, there is no room to try arbitration or mediation. You can’t negotiate or compromise with someone who won't talk to you. Their unwillingness to communicate should not result in you losing money. Litigation may be the only way to make them listen.

While litigation is not fun for anyone involved and often seems like an egregious step, your right to be paid for a job or receive the work you were promised is serious enough to warrant this legal option.

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