Most of the time, the work general contractors do goes smoothly and results in a delighted customer. However, there are also times when disagreements, arguments, or misunderstandings arise. 

Under such circumstances, it can sometimes lead to a lawsuit or an unresolved situation that can drag on for months or years, costing a contractor thousands of dollars and significant stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Contractor liability insurance can help in such circumstances. Let’s go over how:

How to manage contractor legal disputes

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9 Ways Contractor Insurance Helps Resolve Legal Disputes

Here are nine ways a contractor insurance policy can help deal with a dispute you have with a customer or business partner:

1. Notify Your Insurance Broker

The first step is promptly notifying your Zensurance broker about the legal dispute. That may involve filing a claim and providing your broker with all relevant details about it. For example, it may be possible for us to help a contractor avoid being sued if they make a mistake as we did in this instance.

2. Cooperate with Your Insurance Provider’s Investigation

Fully cooperate with your insurance provider’s investigation. After filing a claim through Zensurance, we will assist you by ensuring the claim is acknowledged and addressed immediately by your insurance provider. It’s an adjuster appointed by your insurance provider that investigates a claim and makes a decision on how to proceed. As part of that investigation, the adjuster may ask you directly for additional information, documents or to participate in an interview with them. 

3. Review Your Policy

Your Zensurance broker can help thoroughly review your liability insurance policy to understand the coverage limits, exclusions, and any specific requirements that must be met to receive benefits, if applicable.

4. Engage Legal Counsel

Depending on the complexity and severity of the dispute, it may be advisable to consult an experienced attorney for advice. An attorney knowledgeable in construction law can provide guidance and represent your interests.

5. Document and Keep Accurate Records of the Claim

Maintain thorough documentation of the dispute, including contracts, correspondence, photographs, invoices, and any other relevant records. Documentation will help support your case.

6. Attempt Mediation or Negotiation

In many cases, it may be in your best interest to attempt mediation or negotiation with the parties involved in the dispute. It can help resolve the issue without resorting to lengthy and costly litigation. If those negotiations are unsuccessful, you may need to pursue legal action. Consult your attorney to determine the best course of action and ensure that you’re meeting all the necessary legal requirements.

7. Keep Your Insurance Broker Informed

Throughout the legal process, it’s important to keep your Zensurance broker informed of any developments, including settlement offers, court dates, or other significant events related to the dispute.

8. Settlements or Judgments

If a settlement is reached or a judgment is awarded in your favour, your insurance provider may give you the funds to cover your liabilities up to the policy’s limits.

9. Ensure You Have Legal Expense Insurance

Adding legal expense insurance to your contractor insurance policy before facing a legal dispute or litigation can help contain your legal bills. For example, legal expense insurance covers employee-related disputes or lawsuits, contract disputes, and debt recovery involving a supplier or customer. This type of insurance can connect you to an experienced lawyer 24/7.

Get the Protection Your Contractor Business Needs Now

Whether renewing an insurance policy or getting a contractor insurance policy for the first time, Zensurance specializes in helping Canadian contractors get low-cost coverage quickly. Furthermore, it’s worthwhile to get year-round coverage even if the bulk of your work is seasonal. After all, accidents, fires, or theft can happen at any time.

Fill out our online application for a free quote. Our knowledgeable brokers will do the shopping for you to find the most coverage available at the lowest price from one of more than 50 insurance providers in our partner network, customize the policy to suit your unique requirements, and ensure you receive a certificate of insurance fast.

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About the Author: Aharshan Thangarasa

Aharshan Thangarasa is a licensed commercial insurance broker and Team Lead, Contractors, at Zensurance.