Notice provisions are often overlooked as a nuisance. But, they can also be the death knell to your claim.

A contractor in Washington found out the hard way that its failure to abide by the notice provisions cost it more than $500,000.00. In that case, the contractor agreed to build a fish passage tunnel. After performing $1.1 million in work, the city terminated the contract for convenience. The contractor submitted its demand and, after conducting an audit, the city paid the contractor approximately one-half of its demand.

Instead of following the specific notice provisions contained in the contract and the Washington State Department of Transportation Standard Specifications, the contractor filed suit demanding the additional $500,000.00 it was owed.

The court found that the contractor was required to give notice of any disputes to the city and the contractor had filed its notice of dispute well out of time. Because the contractor did not timely file its claim with the city, it waived its right to sue the city to pursue its claim.

Admittedly, this is an extreme situation, but notice provisions are important and must be followed. If you do not follow them, you may find a court ruling that you waived your right to sue the owner to get paid for your work.