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Remedies for Collecting Payment on Public Works Projects


A public works project is commonly defined as any infrastructure project that is undertaken and financed by the local, state or federal government. These can be recreational in nature (like building a new public park for a community) or to improve the health and safety of that community (as is the case with road repairs, bridge construction and more).

Partially constructed freeway overpass as viewed from below

One of the major benefits of public works projects is that they can be incredibly lucrative.

The major downside, however, is that obtaining the payment that you're rightfully entitled to after the project has finished is sometimes easier said than done. When it comes to obtaining payment on public works projects, you have two main remedies available for you to use: Verified Statements of Claim and Payment Bonds.

Verified Statements of Claim

A Verified Statement of Claim, as its name suggests, is a very specific type of document that will be submitted to the government that you're working with in order to receive all payment for labor, materials and more that were used during the construction of a project. It is a very detailed legal document that contains information about both of the parties involved, the description of the materials that were used and the overall project that was completed and the total dollar amounts both spent and agreed upon while the job was still going on. In essence, it performs a similar function to the type of invoice that you would send a typical client after a job was completed, though on a much larger and more official scale given the circumstances you're involved in.

One of the important things about these types of documents is the verification that they provide, meaning that all information contained on it is accurate under penalty of perjury. The penalties for filing a false verified statement of claim are similar in theory to the penalties for lying under oath while testifying in court, for example.

The Verified Statement of Claim will officially serve as evidence and will be required for all court proceedings that you may have to go through in order to get the money that you're entitled to for the work that you've already completed.

Payment Bonds

Payment bonds are a very specific type of surety bond that is posted by a contractor or similar organization to guarantee that all subcontractors, material suppliers and other people that are necessary to the public works project will be paid for what they're entitled to. The payment bond would be posted by the government that hired you to do the job. If the job that contract that you've received has a value of over $30,000 (as is the case with most projects undertaken in conjunction with the federal government, for example), they will be posted for 100% of the full contract value.

Many local, state and federal jurisdictions will require these bonds in conjunction with a performance bond, which is a similar type of surety bond that guarantees that the work will actually be completed as required.

So long as you completely understand the different remedies that are available to use to use in order to obtain payment on public works projects, you shouldn't have any real issue getting the money that you're rightfully entitled to. Though the process may take longer than you think, rest assured that these tried but true methods will allow you to obtain every last dollar that was agreed upon under the original terms of the service contract.

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Individuals involved should consult with legal professionals for specific guidance tailored to their circumstances.


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