My Client is Suing Me for Criminal Negligence – Now What?
If you are being sued by a client for criminal negligence, you need to talk to a lawyer immediately.
Being a contractor comes with a lot of responsibility. They are expected to keep employees and clients safe as well as deliver a finished product as promised to the client.
What happens if that contractor fails to deliver? What if someone is injured on the job site? In these cases, workplace mistakes can turn into costly court affairs.
If you are being sued by a client for criminal negligence, you need to talk to a lawyer immediately. Otherwise, here is some information on what to expect:
What is Criminal Negligence?
Criminal negligence is defined as acting without reasonable cautions and putting another person at risk of injury or death. Contractors are responsible for exercising a reasonable degree of care and skill to prevent construction defects that could cause harm or death.
They are also responsible for the negligence of their subcontractors.
Fraud and Negligent Misrepresentation
Most negligence claims are made against construction companies who engage in fraud or negligent misrepresentation. Fraud occurs when a contractor intentionally misrepresents the quality of construction or accepts payments or a deposit but does not complete the work.
An example of this would be if a contractor agrees to tile a bathroom and uses subpar or inappropriate materials to do so in a way that would save him time and money. A month later, the tiles fall off.
When a contractor states something as factual with no basis of believing the information to be true, this is known as negligent misrepresentation. For example, a contractor recommends a particular style of hardware floor for a client’s basement, knowing it will be installed over a heated floor. The contractor knows that the material of the flooring cannot withstand the heat but tells the client that it will work just fine. Down the road, the entire floor is ruined.
What to Do If You’ve Been Charged With a Criminal Offense
The first thing you should do if you are charged with a criminal offense is to contact a lawyer. This should be done immediately after the arrest during the questioning stage of the process and they have plenty of experience when it comes to navigating this process.
After you speak with your lawyer, you will be expected to make an appearance in court. The prosecution will provide you and your attorney with a disclosure that details their evidence.
Once you and your lawyer have reviewed the information, you will be asked to make a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, your case will be moved to a trial.
What to Do If You Are Being Sued
Most of the time, the issues contractors face are not criminal charges but being sued by a client. This can be tricky territory, since client accusations may be justified or they may stem from general dissatisfaction of the work (even if the contractor delivered what was promised).
If you are being sued by a client, there are certain steps you should take:
1. Take note on how you were served notice that you are being sued. Sometimes, this can be challenged in court.
2. Respond to the complaint. If you don’t, the judgment will automatically be ruled against you.
3. Review the client’s complaint with a lawyer. Your lawyer will guide you on how to proceed and what sort of information should be submitted into evidence.
4. Check your insurance coverage. Many contractor insurance plans include policies that cover the financial cost of legal proceedings.