As we have mentioned before in this blog, construction litigation often comes down to the testimony of expert witnesses. Each side usually will bring in an expert to evaluate the alleged defects. They may come up with very different interpretations of the evidence, and it could be up to the judge or jury to decide which expert’s opinion they find most credible.
A retired builder recently compared using expert witnesses to playing poker. The better job your expert does in building your case, the better the cards in your hand will be. Of course, the difference is that poker is a game of chance. Though an expert has no ability to affect the workmanship on an already-completed construction project, a good expert will be careful, detailed and accurate in his or her findings.
After the parties all file their expert witness reports, often the next step is to try to negotiate a settlement. Though many lawsuits brought by property owners may seem like a huge reach, it is always a gamble to go to trial. Thus, it can be in everyone’s interest to try to reach a compromise.
If negotiations fail and the suit does go to trial, in most states a builder may be entitled to a judgment if the business prevails in court. However, obtaining the judgment can be difficult, if the plaintiff does not have the money.
The best way to find the right expert witness, settle a claim and win at trial is to have an attorney with experience defending builders in construction litigation.