If your familiar with my Guide to Contractor Disputes, then you already know that among the most important things to remember when hiring a general contractor is ensuring that your home improvement contract contains an attorneys’ fees provision. Contrary to what most people think, a prevailing party (i.e., the party that “wins” the lawsuit) is not automatically entitled to repayment of their attorneys’ fees and costs.
Unlike the legal systems in several other Western countries, which have mandatory “loser pays” provisions, that is not the case in a lot of states—most especially, in California. Here, a prevailing party is only entitled to attorneys’ fees if a statute or contract provides for that remedy.
Fortunately, many do (but some don’t).