Jeffrey V. Mehalic

Mehalic Law PLLC

WV Consumer Attorney

(304) 346-3462



Free Consultations

  • Consumer Law
  • Personal Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Wrongful Death

Morgantown, WV Abandoned Construction Lawyer

Was Your Construction Site Abandoned in West Virginia?

Hire an Experienced Abandoned Construction Site Lawyer

Breaking ground on your new home or project is the American dream. These projects require years of planning, saving, and trusting your contractors to share your vision. Sadly, it doesn’t always work out this way. Our abandoned construction lawyers know this story all too well.

Far too many West Virginia homeowners get left high and dry after their construction company abandons their project. The contractor may submit poor work, walk off the job, or be a no-show after receiving a more lucrative contract. When your progress halts after a dispute or contract abandonment, it’s easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed. 

Mehalic Law is here to get your project back on track. We specialize in breach of contract (abandoned construction), bond claims, and insurance disputes between owners, developers, and contractors. We are experts in resolving disputes arising from disagreements about budgets, timelines, scope of work, and work quality. For over 20 years, West Virginians have turned to the construction attorneys at Mehalic Law to help get their projects back on track.

Learn More About Abandoned Construction Site Lawsuits

What is a construction defect lawsuit?

A construction defect lawsuit often arises after construction is completed; the owners or residents may discover something that needs to be improved, better done or is not to code. These lawsuits can involve everything from repurposed materials and spotty insulation to poor ventilation, fire codes, real estate devaluation, and more. Bringing a construction defect lawsuit often involves breach of contract/warranty, as well as contractor negligence. Contact Mehalic Law today to learn more about construction defect lawsuits.

When do I need a construction lawyer?

A construction lawyer can help when a company or individual contracted to complete a home or business construction project fails to meet time, budget, and workmanship standards. Construction lawyers can help you recover money, resume work on your project, and reduce stress around the contractor-hiring process.


A construction lawyer can also help in reviewing your initial contract documents to ensure you’re protected in every important area. This keeps the contractor honest—and prevents you ending up with a lien on your home in the event that the contractor comes after you for nonpayment following a dispute. Call Mehalic Law today to enlist the help of a trusted Morgantown, West Virginia construction lawyer: (304) 346-3462.



Hiring a construction lawyer? Don’t make this common mistake

The biggest mistake a person can make when hiring an attorney to represent them in a construction dispute is hiring a legal team that does not specialize in construction law. Every attorney has a specialty; because the law is so complicated, it’s important to to hire an attorney with years of experience in the legal field you need. When hiring a construction lawyer, always make sure that they have a specialty in construction law, and positive online reviews from past clients.

What are the most common construction contractor disputes?

Most contractor disputes involve projects that are taking too long, costing too much, or lacking in work quality.

Work quality is the most common complaint we see at Mehalic Law. The West Virginia Division of Labor’s Contractor Licensing Board law stipulates that contractors must have a detailed Written Contract for Services; in many cases, the work quality, project cost or duration, and/or contractor absences are in direct violation of these guidelines.

If you believe you have a construction claim under any of the above circumstances, Mehalic Law is here to help. Call us today for a free consultation.

When is it time to take legal action against my contractor?

Legal action should only be a last resort after you have exhausted all other options. We understand that legal battles can drain your resources. However, filing a lawsuit against an uncommunicative contractor can actually save you time and money by forcing them to acknowledge your complaints.

Mehalic Law recommends taking legal action against your construction company or contractor under the following circumstances:

  • The contractor has gone well beyond the scope of time allotted in your contract, even if the project is not urgent and your home is still habitable
  • The job is far beyond the budget agreed upon in your contract, even if you have the funds to continue paying your contractor
  • The quality of work is below what you were expecting, or what was outlined in the contract, even if it does not appear to be dangerous or unsafe
  • There are obvious code or safety violations that remain unaddressed
  • Your contractor has no-call-no-showed for more than two consecutive days
  • Your contractor is unreachable or appears to be operating under a different business entity
  • Your contractor is using fewer workers or daily labor hours than specified in your contract

Under any of the above circumstances, you have the right to full and fair compensation if your contractor refuses to fulfill the duties outlined under their contract.

Construction Contracts: A Brief Overview

Your construction contract will form the backbone of your construction lawsuit. Here are some features to consider before signing:


Is your contractor licensed and bonded with the state of West Virginia? The licensing status of your contractor must be verified with the state before they can legally offer services. 

West Virginia Contractor Licensing Search

Payment Schedule

How much are you being asked to pay, and when is it due? Many homeowners pay most or everything up front, only to have their contractor abandon the project, submit defective work, or fail to adhere to the terms of the contract. 

We highly recommend offering a reasonable deposit with regular payments to be made at specified points in the project. This payment plan should be stipulated in your contract.

Contract Terms

Your contract should be signed by both you and the contractor doing the work on behalf of their company. This should include the contractor’s license number, the project start and estimated completion dates, a full description of all work to be performed, any notices of contractor’s rights to a lien or other financial indemnity, and your right to null the contract within a specific number of business days. Talk to a contract attorney with assistance in forming an effective, legally binding contract with your contractor.

Payment Provisions for Subcontractors and/or Material Suppliers

Contractors are usually responsible for third parties that they subcontract to do parts of the work; when they fail to pay, homeowners can be left to make payments. Ensure your contract provides a detailed payment structure that stipulates that the contractor is responsible for all costs related to subcontractor work and material handling costs (delivery fees, demolition removal, etc.).


It should go without saying that your contract should stipulate that the contractor has liability insurance, with the property owner named as an insured party. Always ask for proof of insurance before your contractor breaks ground on the project. Insurance companies are frequently involved in insurance disputes.

Termination, Dispute Resolution, and Attorneys’ Fees

Your contract should specify that you always have the right to terminate your contractor if you notice deficient performance or subpar work. The contract should also list dispute resolution, including payment for attorneys’ fees.

Contact an experienced construction attorney by calling Mehalic Law

How To File A Lawsuit Against Your Contractor

If you decide that litigation is the only way forward to resolve your construction dispute, your next step is to speak to a construction lawyer who is familiar with state construction law, construction defects, and abandoned construction cases.

Your construction lawyer should understand the process of filing a lawsuit and be comfortable representing you in court.

Your construction lawyer will ask you questions about your contract, your contractor, and the state of your project. They will ask for documentation that corroborates your claim; this could mean pictures and videos of the work in question, as well as the contract itself.

Attorney Tip: always hire an experienced construction lawyer to handle your claim. If you hire a general attorney who doesn’t practice construction law, they may not be familiar with the timeframes and technicalities that factor into this unique field of practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I fire my contractor in West Virginia?

Yes, you always have the right to fire a general contractor in West Virginia, but certain stipulations may apply. As per West Virginia code:

at least ninety (90) days before you file your lawsuit, you must deliver to the contractor a written notice of any construction conditions you allege are defective and provide your contractor and any subcontractors, suppliers or design professionals the opportunity to make an offer to repair or pay for the defects. You are not obligated to accept any offer made by the contractor or any subcontractors, suppliers or design professionals.

NOTE: You can be held responsible for materials purchased, any services the contractor provided, and any legal fees in defending yourself against a lawsuit to collect these funds. In addition to having a solid contract in place before beginning work with a contractor, it is also a good idea to consult with a construction attorney who specializes in land owner/contractor issues.

Call Mehalic Law today for a free consultation: (304) 346-3462.

What do I do if I am unhappy with my contractor’s work?

Poor work quality is the single most common complaint in construction litigation. This may culminate in building code violations, lost income, or wasted time in hiring another contractor (abandoned construction issues).

Managing a construction project comes down to two things: a strong contract, and clear communication when issues arise. Make sure to alert your contractor to the issues you see as soon as possible to let them know that you are concerned about their work product. Document your complaints through text or email, and make sure to list, in detail, all the issues you have with their work quality.

After you have given them the chance to fix their mistakes and make things right, it may be time to pursue legal action. Call Mehalic Law for a free case consultation and consultation: (304) 346-3462.

What is the statute of limitations for construction defects in West Virginia?

A breach of contract claim on a written contract concerning construction defects and/or construction abandonment must be brought within ten (10) years from the time the right to bring the same shall have accrued, as per W. Va. Code § 55-2-6

If your breach of contract claim is based on an unwritten or implied contract (e.g., a verbal agreement), the cause of action must be brought within five (5) years of the right to bring suit. See also West Virginia Code Chapter 21, Labor Article 11A: Notice And Opportunity To Cure Construction Defects.

How do you deal with a contractor behind a schedule?

While sometimes projects fall behind schedule, it is nonetheless challenging to enforce a project timeline unless it is agreed upon in writing. If your contractor falls behind schedule, start by communicating your concern and reassessing the timeline so you and the contractor can agree on a fair set of deadlines going forward. It is also helpful to have your contractor payment schedule coordinated by project progress; for example, the contractor only receives a percentage of payment after they have met a certain milestone on the project.

If your contractor is consistently behind schedule, slow to respond to your concerns or simply no longer showing up to work, it may be time to involve an abandoned construction lawyer. To begin this process, call Mehalic Law for a claim evaluation: (304) 346-3462.

How do I know that my contractor is licensed and insured in West Virginia?

Contractors in West Virginia must be licensed through the state, and the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Act has some very strict requirements that contractors must meet to level their licensure. General contractors, electricians, plumbers, mechanics, and other tradespeople must be licensed through the state of West Virginia. 

When vetting a contractor, always perform a Contractor License Search through the West Virginia Division of Labor, and read their reviews before hiring them. The Contractors Association of West Virginia also has a website you can use to review potential contractor options.

What is considered a construction defect in West Virginia?

According to West Virginia Code (Chapter 21, Article 11A), a “construction defect” means “a deficiency in, or a deficiency arising out of, the design, specifications, planning, supervision or construction of residential improvements that results from any of the following:

(A) Defective material, products, or components used in the construction of residential improvements;

(B) Violation of the applicable codes in effect at the time of construction of residential improvements;

(C) Failure in the design of residential improvements to meet the applicable professional standards of care;

(D) Failure to complete residential improvements in accordance with accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike construction: Provided, That compliance with the applicable codes in effect at the time of construction is prima facie evidence of construction in accordance with accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike construction, with respect to all matters specified in those codes; or

(E) Failure to properly oversee, supervise, and inspect services or goods provided by the contractor’s subcontractor, officer, employee, agent, or other person furnishing goods or services.

For questions regarding this definition and how it may apply to you, contact Mehalic Law at (304) 346-3462. We offer free consultations on all construction claims.

What kind of damages can I recover from an abandoned construction lawsuit?

In most breach of contract cases, the damages are straightforward: your contractor must reimburse you for the full cost of repairing or completing the project they abandoned. This is inclusive of labor, materials, transportation, demolition/removal, permitting, and any other financial components that were outlined in the original contract.

Whether you are out $5,000 or $500,000, West Virginia law entitles you to recover damages for what you paid. You never have to be stuck with an unfinished construction project due to the negligence of a no-show contractor. Talk to the abandoned construction experts at Mehalic Law to discuss your options.

Contact Mehalic Law for a Free Case Evaluation

Attorney Tip: Never pay your contractor in cash! Always keep a record of the money being paid through bank transfer. Keep copies of all checks, receipts and credit card statements to make sure all costs are accounted for.

Construction Abandonment

Did you know that you can sue a contractor for unfinished work? Read on to learn more.

Did you hire a contractor who disappeared on you? Being stuck with a half-finished home improvement project can leave you feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and uncertain as to what happens next. Many times, construction abandonment results in unused materials, a shortage of capital, and a messy, uncomfortable living situation.

Construction abandonment is surprisingly common in the construction industry, among both licensed and unlicensed contract workers. All too often, a contractor will “double bid” and take both contracts offered to them. After a property owner pays a contractor for future work, they will simply abandon the project, leaving the property owner responsible for finding a new contractor—and sometimes the cost of materials that will go unused.

The state of West Virginia allows property owners to sue contractors for project abandonment. To favorably resolve this legal issue, you will need to demonstrate that the contractor failed to fulfill contractual duties and breached their contract. 

Construction Abandonment: A Basic Overview

Construction abandonment occurs when a contractor:

  • Failed to complete the work as promised (breach of contract); and/or
  • Completed the work in a subpar way, failing to meet industry standards (poor workmanship).

Your contractor may be subject to legal action if they abandon a construction project without a legal right to terminate the contract. Note that there are some instances where contractors are allowed to leave a project unfinished; for example, if you are behind in payments; if an unforeseen injury occurs; or key materials become unavailable, forcing a delay. 

If you believe you have an abandoned construction claim, call Mehalic Law today to discuss your claim: (304) 346-3462.

Your abandoned construction lawyer will build a case around the specifics of the project, the timeline and budget outlined, and the difference between what was promised and what was delivered. They will look into how much work was satisfactorily completed (if any), and compare that to how much money you paid. Finally, they will apply West Virginia laws to your situation, arrive at a fair cost for the missing work, and pursue a legal action against your former contractor to recover these damages.


What to Do If Your Contractor Walks Off the Job

Communicate Clearly

Your first step is to make sure you have communicated your concerns, in writing, to your contractor. This will help you understand the nature of their departure. Is it a temporary delay? Will they be issuing you a refund for pre-paid labor, or materials that will not be used?

Document Everything

From texts and emails to invoices, receipts, and handwritten notes, save every piece of documentation you can regarding your contractor’s work. You should also periodically take pictures of the construction site, before and during construction to track progress; this not only assists in any future legal battle but also helps a future contractor pick up where the last contractor left off.

Terminate the Contract

There will be some cases where no amount of communication, documentation, or discussion will change the course your contractor has put you on. If the contractor’s words and/or actions make it clear that they are not going to fulfill their contractual obligations, this is called a “repudiation”, and constitutes a breach of contract. At this point, you are free to seek alternative dispute resolution or more aggressive legal remedies. Talk to an abandoned construction lawyer to discuss this step: (304) 346-3462.

Tap their Bond 

Many professional contractors are both licensed and bonded. This means that they carry a kind of insurance policy that pays out to claimants who have been harmed by the contractor walking off the job. If you do not now if your contractor is bonded, you can start the process by filing a complaint with the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board. This will begin the process of getting reimbursed.

Hire a Construction Abandonment Lawyer 

In some cases, your only option is to hire an experienced abandoned construction lawyer to help you with your next steps. A construction lawyer will help you determine if pursuing a lawsuit is an option, and what the odds of recovering money from this process will be. Hiring an attorney means you will only communicate with your attorney, not the contractor. Your attorney will handle all the paperwork, insurance research, and other duties related to your claim.

Speak To An Abandoned Construction Lawyer Today: (304) 346-3462.