David M. Duree and Associates, P.C.
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When can you sue a contractor for delays in Illinois?

Construction jobs of any kind involve some level of unpredictability. This is why you should always make a comprehensive and formal agreement before breaking ground on the project in Illinois.

You can’t predict everything

But even with the most airtight construction contracts, some holdups are still impossible to foresee. In those cases, it may be challenging to figure out whose responsibility it is to cover the costs associated with that delay. The primary question on the table with these types of cases is how reasonable the delays were based on the circumstances.

The first thing you should look at is the contract. This is often the document used to settle civil lawsuits of this kind. The contract that all parties signed will tell you who is supposed to cover the damages.

What should you include in a construction contract?

Your construction contract should go into detail about what the project will entail and what’s expected of the contractors. This helps ensure everyone is on the same page from the start. It’s a way of making sure everyone agrees – and everyone knows what they’re agreeing to. If there’s a dispute of any kind because the project is delayed, a strong contract can help resolve the matter.

The four contract types that usually come into play in construction litigation include:

  • Unit Pricing
  • Fixed Price
  • Time and Materials
  • Cost-Plus

A contractor might not be seen as legally responsible for the damages if it’s possible for the delays to be excused. A delay may be excusable when it is caused by something that couldn’t be foreseen. Extreme weather is a common example, but it could also be anything else that happens unexpectedly and wasn’t due to the contractor’s actions.

If you want to take legal action against the contractor, first make sure you have a good argument. Look at the details of the contract you signed that will help you prove that it was the contractor’s fault. Try to find ways to show that they were unreasonable.

In some cases, you may have an argument with merit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will always hold up in court. That’s when you may want to settle outside of court or try arbitration.

If you’ve had to go through unreasonable delays on a construction project, you’re likely wondering if it’s possible to sue the contractor. If the job was held up due to circumstances beyond the contractor’s control, they might not be legally to blame.