Gesk Moritz, LLC
Experienced Trial Attorneys Serving Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia
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News And Reflections On Legal Issues In Western Pennsylvania And West Virginia

Your dream home is defective. Now what?

You spend months, no, years planning your dream house and finally you see it coming to life right before your eyes. There are truly few things as exciting as watching your home plans take shape. However, the dream can suddenly turn into a nightmare when you realize that the builder you worked with cut corners, leading to defects.

Unfortunately, residential constructions defect are very common in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Some of the most common construction defects include:

  • Mold and water issues
  • Electrical or heating issues
  • Soil and drainage issues
  • Cracks in the foundation, wall or roof
  • Structural issues

A closer look at how you can prevent construction disputes

If you work in Pennsylvania's construction industry, you may be well aware that on occasion, disputes can occur. Often, these disagreements are in regards to contractual terms that may have been previously misunderstood or modified by one or more parties. Fortunately, with your proactive endeavors to educate your employees and with your own familiarity with prevention techniques, you can reduce the chances of having to deal with costly disputes. At Gesk Moritz LLC, we are experienced at working with professionals in the construction industry and understand the unique challenges they face each day.

According to Construction Executive, while you cannot entirely prevent all construction disputes, there are things you can do to protect your organization and reduce the chances of conflict from occurring. Some of the things you can do include the following:

  • Look out for specific clauses in your contract that may be confusing or vague. Negotiate terms and clarify meaning to determine that all parties have a mutual understanding.
  • Be proactive about dealing with issues when you first detect them. Waiting can only worsen problems and create more confusion and frustration.
  • Stay on top of communication with vital business partners including estimators, schedulers and subcontractors. Your diligence can build trust and create valued relationships to deter contention and disagreements.
  • Make sure that you understand all of the content included in your contract and that you are deciphering the context the correct way.
  • Be sure to accurately and swiftly record any disputes that occur. These valuable documents may save you significant time and stress in the future.

Reviewing the reasons for terminating contracts

As a contractor, you rely heavily on the strength of your contractual agreements to not only guarantee continued work, but also to reinforce your reputation in the local community. When you enter into a contract with a client, you do so with every expectation that as long as you fulfill your terms, the other party will have no reason to end your agreement (or to not reciprocate). Are there any scenarios where it can do just that? 

According to the American Bar Association, a client can attempt to end a contractual agreement for default (many also refer to this as "termination for cause"). To cite cause as a reason for termination, your client has to prove that your default has essentially defeated the basic objective of the contract. To do this, it must prove the following elements: 

  • That you had an obligation to fulfill under your agreement
  • That the obligation was a material term
  • That you indeed did fail to perform that obligation
  • That it (the client) fulfilled all of its responsibilities under the contract

Business real estate transactions: What mistakes should I avoid?

If you are getting ready to purchase a commercial property for your business in Carnegie, there are some things you should first take into consideration. You do not want to end up entering into an agreement that is one-sided or fraught with pitfalls for you. The right decisions and agreement can make your real estate transaction a successful one. 

Keep in mind that commercial real estate transactions involve a lot more risk than residential ones. To keep you from losing your business and hard-earned money, here are some mistakes that often occur in commercial real estate transactions that you want to avoid. 

What remedies do you really have after a breach of contract?

As a homeowner or small business owner, you feel good when you’ve finished negotiating a contract and your deal is in writing. You may have some lingering concern that you could have negotiated a better deal. You might wish it wasn’t going to cost so much. But ultimately, you had a project you needed done and now you’ve got a contract. You’re on your way.

In an ideal world, everything would go as planned. In the real world, contractors are sometimes late. Sometimes they don’t follow the plan. Sometimes their work is defective. Sometimes they don’t show up at all. Any of these can be a breach of contract.

Pennsylvania road-rage incident leads to man's death

Every day, thousands of Pennsylvania motorists take to the road to travel to and from work, school and family obligations. Often, these motorists rely on their own instincts and education to make responsible decisions behind the wheel. However, sometimes, the careless or dangerous actions of others can put everyone at risk even if they are always driving cautiously and defensively. In some cases, road rage can occur if drivers become overly emotional in response to the frustrating or dangerous actions of other motorists. 

This was the case in a recent incident on a road in York. Police say that two vehicles collided with each other for a reason that is still unknown. The drivers of both vehicles were men and each vehicle contained several passengers. These passengers were the men's children and significant other according to initial accident reports. After the collision, one of the men approached the other vehicle when he was shot by the other vehicle's driver. Despite efforts to save the man and rush him to a local hospital, his injuries were too severe and he died enroute. Police suspect the incident stemmed from road rage, and the shooting remains under investigation. The suspect was released after questioning and no charges have been filed. The conditions of the other occupants of both vehicles are unknown. 

Study: Many types of flooring fail minimum friction threshold

Where are slip-and-fall accidents most common? Is there a way to mitigate the risk before someone gets hurt?

Slip-and-fall accidents injure a surprisingly large number of people every year. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slips and falls are responsible for over a million hospital visits annually. They are the leading cause of workers' comp claims and days lost from work. About 5 percent of all people who experience a fall suffer a fractured bone.

Can you better protect the construction workers on your team?

If you hold a position of trust and leadership in various construction projects, you may be well aware that the safety and education of your workers is heavily reliant on your own example and the trainings you require your workers to complete. However, construction accidents can sometimes happen and leave you feeling concerned about how to better protect the talent on your team. Fortunately, by taking some proactive steps towards the education and training of your team, you can reduce the chance of accidents from happening on your worksites in Pennsylvania. 

The website forconstructionpros.com has provided you with some excellent suggestions of precautions you can take. These include the following:

  • Encourage action and activity on your team. Have your workers perform simple "warm-up" exercises at the start of each shift and encourage them to take breaks as needed.
  • Make sure all of your workers are hydrated and properly rested to avoid unnecessary mistakes that could cause harm. This is especially important if your workers are currently part of a nighttime job. 
  • Prioritize trainings and use this time to hold focused discussions on various safety matters, industry best practices and concerns you may have noticed.
  • Encourage your workers to use proper protection when working in the sun. This means using sunscreen and keeping skin covered if possible. 
  • Teach your crew the basics of defensive driving especially when they are required to operate equipment and heavy machinery around other people. 

Some car technology puts motorists at risk of accidents

It is common knowledge that smartphones, mobile devices and driving in Carnegie do not mix. According to Fortune.com, in 2015, the number of people who died in car accidents was 400,000. Many of those incidents were because the drivers were distracted. What many motorists do not realize is that there is a bigger danger inside of their cars that often leads to distractions. 

When drivers become so engrossed in using certain technology-enabled devices and functions in their cars, they become more likely to crash into objects, other cars, trucks and pedestrians. One function like voice assistance does not require drivers to remove their hands from the steering wheel for extended lengths of time. Touchscreen functions do require them to remove their hands from the steering wheel. The time that motorists spend focusing on those features instead of the roads puts them at serious risk of harm. 

What are some common title issues I may encounter?

If this is your first time dabbling in real estate or you are currently in the process of purchase property in the Carnegie area, there are some reasons why your lender may require you to purchase title insurance. You cannot look at a house and know its complete history. Also, you should not assume that the seller is going to disclose all issues that may exist with the title. 

When it comes to real estate transactions, it is unethical for sellers to sell their properties when there are existing or issues with the title. According to the Washington Post, property cannot be transferred or sold when the title is not clear. Title searches are necessary, so you can learn if there are any liens, debts and other issues attached to the title that may be passed on to you when you purchase a property. 

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