If you wish to file a claim against the bond of an electrical or telecommunication contractor, you must follow a slightly different procedure than you would if you were filing a claim against the registration bond of a general contractor.
Who must have this bond?
Electrical contractors and telecommunications contractors must have a bond, or an assigned savings amount, of $4,000.00. RCW 19.28.041(3) and RCW 19.28.420(7).
How do I file a claim?
You must bring an action in the Superior Court of any county in which the contractor resides or conducts business, or in the county in which you provided labor, materials, and/or rental equipment. RCW 19.28.071 and RCW 19.28.420(7). You must join the surety providing the license bond as a co-defendant. Contact a business law attorney to assist you in drafting this claim.
How do I serve a claim?
You must serve both the surety company and the contractor. Unlike a registration bond, you do not need to serve the Department of Labor and Industries.
If the surety company is located in Washington, you must serve the surety company by personally serving an insurance agent of that surety. If the surety company is not located in Washington, you must serve the Washington State Insurance Commissioner.
When must I file a claim?
You must bring your lawsuit within one year from the completion of the work in which the breach is alleged to have occurred. RCW 19.28.071.
How do I collect if my claim is successful?
As indicated above, the electrical or telecommunications contractor has the option of obtaining either a $4,000.00 bond or placing $4,000.00 in an assigned savings account.
If the contractor chooses the former, provide a copy of the final judgment to the surety and the surety will tender the bond proceeds to the court. The court clerk will then disburse the proceeds to you.
If the contractor has chosen the latter, you need to obtain a final judgment against both the contractor and the savings account. Provide a conformed copy of this final judgment to the Department of Labor and Industries. The Department will then have the judgment paid from the account. RCW 19.28.071 and RCW 19.28.420(8).
What else should I worry about?
You will need to pursue your claim as efficiently as you can because once the $4,000.00 proceeds are gone, they’re gone. This means that if other claims are brought against the contractor and they recover against the bond, you can only recover up to the funds left.
Legal Disclaimer: The information on this page does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as each situation is fact specific and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. The information on this page is solely for the purpose of legal education and is intended to only provide general information about the matters stated therein. The information on this page should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area of the matters stated therein. No attorney-client relationship is formed without an actual agreement confirmed in writing. I am licensed only in Washington.