What to do if I am a freelance graphic designer and have not been paid for services rendered?

UPDATED: Jan 21, 2014

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What to do if I am a freelance graphic designer and have not been paid for services rendered?

A woman hired me to do work for her and gave me 30% down. Now I’ve done the work and she’s seen it but she hasn’t gotten back to me with her final approval (I also have not given her any of the final files). I’ve tried contacting her 3 times in the past 6 weeks, yet she still hasn’t gotten back to me. What kind of action should I take? She did sign a contact with me saying that she would pay for the work and if there was any negligence on her part, she would be liable for ny necessary legl action but how long does it take for her to be considered negligent?

Asked on January 21, 2014 under Business Law, Wisconsin


Brook Miscoski / Hurr Law Office PC

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

With the proviso that I'm a Texas attorney and that contract law can differ slightly from state to state:

In Texas, "negligence" is a "tort." In other words, negligence isn't about a contract, it's about whether someone was careful enough. It sounds like you're really describing a breach of the agreement.

In Texas, there are a few things that a freelancer would consider in this situation. First, does the contract set a time limit for the woman to give final approval? Second, does the contract provide a method for giving notice to the woman that the freelancer believes that the woman is breaching the agreement? Third, does the contract really say "negligence," or does it say that if there is a proven breach by a party then the other party can get costs, expenses, attorney fees, and all other remedies to which it may be entitled?

If the woman is actually past her time limit, or if there isn't one but it's been quite awhile with no contact, a freelancer in Texas would probably send the woman a notice that she is in breach of the agreement, and then consider filing a lawsuit if there's enough on the line and the woman hasn't made things right.

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