Suing a Contractor Without a Contract in Small Claims Court
Home repairs and construction can be a real hassle and cost a lot of money. Some laws and regulations need to be followed to ensure your project is done right and the building is safe. This is why most people and many states require a skilled contractor to do the job. While many contractors can be trusted to do the job correctly, some are more interested in getting paid. If you're having problems with your home repairs, you may be wondering if you have any legal rights.
What about if you don't have a contract?
Is it possible to sue a contractor without a contract?
Most contractors will sign a contract that lays out all the terms of the job. This will usually include how much the project should cost, the amount of time the job is expected to take, and the homeowner's specifications for the project. In some cases, the job might be small, or the contractor never provides a contract. Maybe this is your first experience with a home improvement job, and you didn't know that a contract was in your best interest.
Regardless of why you don't have a contract, you still need to know what to do if a contractor leaves you high and dry. After all, you did have an agreement over the work you paid for. This agreement might be verbal rather than written on paper. This article will cover suing a contractor without a contract in small claims court.
Suing a contractor without a contract is possible with DoNotPay's Robot Lawyer. Instead of paying huge legal fees to an attorney, DoNotPay uses artificial intelligence to help everyday people navigate confusing legal situations and help you get your money back. This service can help you sue anyone in small claims court, including suing a contractor without a contract.
Reasons to File a Lawsuit Against a Contractor Without a Contract
Before you can even consider suing a contractor without a contract, you have to have a reason for the small claims court to hear your case. Even though you don't have a contract, you likely have proof that you paid the contractor, which will help you prove that you had a verbal agreement.
Here are some reasons you may need to file a lawsuit against a contractor in small claims court without a contract.
|The Contractor Caused Property Damage||If your contractor caused property damage and refuses to fix the problem, you can sue them even if you didn't have a contract. In this situation, you will need some evidence to show the problem. For example, if you are trying to sue a contractor in small claims court over leaky pipes after a bathroom remodel, you can show proof with a plumbing bill or pictures of the damage. This can help the judge see what the contractor left behind.|
|The Contractor Fails to Complete the Job||Another reason to consider suing a contractor without a contract is if they fail to complete the job. They may have taken the deposit in this situation, but either partially or entirely failed to do the work. This could be a real problem for homeowners, especially if they cannot use that part of the house because the work is not completed.|
|Suing a Contractor For Breach of Contract||Although you do not have a traditional contract, the fact that you had a verbal agreement with the contractor is sufficient to sue anyone in small claims court. The number one reason to sue a contractor is for breach of contract. Which, in this case, is the agreement you made with them at the time you paid them for a service.|
Clarity on Breach of Contract
Most of the above reasons are fairly straightforward but there are several instances that could constitute a breach of contract. Here are some typical situations to consider:
- The contractor completed the project in an unsatisfactory way.
- The contractor completed the project in a way that is not safe or violates state standards.
- The contractor took payment without completing the work in some way.
- The contractor continually overcharges and asks for more money than was agreed upon.
File a Lawsuit Against a Contractor Without a Contract by Yourself
If you need to file a lawsuit against your contractor by yourself, you will need to know the basics to get started. The process can be lengthy and confusing from start to finish, so we will try to break each part down a little. This particular lawsuit is considered civil and needs to be filed in civil court. Once the civil suit is filed, the court proceedings will include:
- Pleadings - This is the initial paperwork that each party MUST file in order to explain each person's side of the problem. It tells the court both sides of the lawsuit. For example, why are you suing a contractor without a contract?
- Discovery - During this phase of the lawsuit, both sides gather as much evidence as possible to prove they are not in the wrong. This could be a picture of the damage, receipt of payment, or proof of breach of contract.
- Trial - Sometimes, lawsuits can be settled out of court. Other times you will need to go to trial to resolve the problem. Both sides will have an opportunity to explain their side and show their evidence.
- Appeal - If one party is not happy with the judges' ruling, they have an opportunity to appeal the ruling.
Dangers & Issues With Filing a Lawsuit by Yourself
If you decide that you want to go ahead with a lawsuit by yourself, you should keep in mind some dangers and issues that might arise.
The most common thing is that you risk losing money. You will need to pay filing fees and stick to the court's schedule. If you do not have experience with this, you might make a mistake and need to pay even more filing fees to fix your errors.
In some cases, you might be fined for not being prepared. In some situations, the person you are suing could turn around and sue you if they are ready and you are not, as this wastes their time and the courts. Finally, failure to submit all your paperwork correctly could result in your case being thrown out, and you will lose any fees you have paid.
How to Sue a Contractor Without a Contract With DoNotPay
Suing a contractor without a contract is easier with DoNotPay, and it could save you a lot of money. Instead of dealing with a real lawyer that wants to charge you by the hour, you can use our artificial intelligence software to fill out the appropriate paperwork at your convenience. Follow the steps below to get started.
- Log in to DoNotPay and select the Sue Now Product option
- Enter the dollar amount you're owed or want to recover from the contractor
- Select whether you need a demand letter or the court filing forms
- Describe the reason for the lawsuit and submit any applicable details, including any photo proof
That's it! DoNotPay will then generate a demand letter or court filing forms for you. We'll even mail a copy of your demand letter to the individual or business you are suing!
DoNotPay Is Your All-in-One Stop for Lawsuits
Need to take on a bigger opponent than a local contractor? DoNotPay can help. Whether you need to dispute the relevance of a claim with your insurance company or get reimbursed for a canceled flight, we’re with you every step of the way. Browse our library of resources for more insights on how to sue everyone from big corporations to your local contractor.