Navigating the Legal Terrain: Proactive Strategies for Restoration Contractors

At The Law Offices of Edward H. Cross, we continuously strive to empower restoration and disaster remediation contractors with the legal knowledge they need to succeed. That’s why, in a recent appearance on IAQ Radio with legends Joe “Radio Joe” Hughes and Cliff “Z-Man ” Zlotnik, attorney Angela Bajramaj shared invaluable insights on how contractors can mitigate risk and maximize collections, specifically tailored to the restoration industry. With her unique dual expertise in construction and law, Angela highlighted several critical areas that every contractor should be aware of to safeguard their business legally and financially.

Contractual Vigilance: The First Line of Defense

Angela emphasizes that well-crafted contracts are the bedrock of legal protection for contractors. These documents must go beyond mere emergency work authorizations to include comprehensive terms and conditions that protect the contractor. It’s crucial that every contract undergoes thorough review by an attorney to ensure compliance with state laws, defined payment terms, and limits on certain types of liability. Well-written and comprehensive contracts are essential to success. 

Interested in getting your hands on a solid contract package prepared by an industry expert? Check out our General Cleaning & Restoration Contract Package  to bring The Restoration Lawyer’s expertise to whatever state you are in!

Insurance Assignments: Securing Your Payment Rights

Dealing with insurance adjusters can be a complex affair. Angela advises contractors to pursue assignments of insurance benefits. This strategy allows contractors to claim payments directly from insurance companies, a significant advantage in scenarios where prompt payment is crucial. It’s a step that places contractors in a stronger position when dealing with insurance adjusters, potentially bypassing common payment bottlenecks. 

Curious for more information on insurance assignments? Check out The Book on Assignment of Benefits to discover a restorer’s most powerful collection device. 

Liens: A Potent yet Tricky Tool

The world of liens is intricate. Liens come with stringent, state-specific deadlines and procedures, and the process involves recording the lien AND enforcing it.While liens are a powerful method to secure payment rights, Angela warns they don’t guarantee payment and enforcing them can be a protracted legal affair. A frequent oversight among contractors is neglecting to notify homeowners about potential lien rights, a crucial step especially in the absence of a direct contract.

Unexpected Payment Evasion Tactics

Contractors often face unusual excuses from homeowners to avoid payment, ranging from trivial disputes over minute details to accusations of insurance fraud. Angela’s experiences highlight the need for contractors to be prepared for such scenarios, underscoring the unpredictability inherent in restoration contracts.

Mortgage Companies: A Key Player in Payment Dynamics

Pete Consigli joined the discussion, underscoring the significant role of mortgage companies in post-loss scenarios. They often contribute to payment delays. Angela’s recommendation is clear: obtain a mortgage authorization at the time of contract signing to facilitate direct communication with the mortgage lender. 

Interested in having an industry expert help you put together a mortgage authorization? Click here to speak with an attorney. 

Unjust Enrichment: A Lesser-Known Legal Recourse

Unjust enrichment is a legal concept where one party benefits at another’s expense. Angela reveals how this principle can be applied in restoration work, offering a legal avenue for recovery even in the absence of a direct contract. 

Incorporating Specific Contract Terms for Liability Protection

Angela also touches on the importance of including specific clauses in contracts, such as non-liability for consequential damages and disclaimers for mysterious disappearances. These terms serve to limit contractor liability for ambiguous or hard-to-prove claims, bringing clarity and fairness to contractual responsibilities.

For a deeper dive into these topics and more, be sure to tune into Angela’s IAQ Radio Appearance here.

Upcoming Events: 2024 RIA Convention & Strategic Strikes Bootcamp

Eager to connect with restoration experts? You can attend our upcoming events with industry legends like Anthony Nelson, Mark Pasculli, Norma Vally, Jeff Taxier, and The Restoration Lawyer himself, Ed Cross. 

We are proud to announce that The Law Offices of Edward H. Cross and Restoration CrossCheck will be attending the 2024 RIA Convention this year in Dallas, TX from April 8 – 10!

Don’t miss the chance to learn from industry legends The Restoration CrossCheck Strategic Strikes Boot Camp at the RIA Convention! 

Date: April 8, 2024

Time: 9am to 4pm Central Standard Time

Seize the opportunity to accelerate your restoration business TODAY!

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