Legal Question in Construction Law in Indiana

We had a local company put in a new water heater, forced air furnace and air conditioner and they also did the plumbing for the house because it was one we bought while being remodeled. This was back in August of 2006. They quoted us an original price of about $13,000, which we paid and then they said that there was some extra things that needed fixed and charged us an additional $3,000. We did not pay this because it was not in the original estimate that we agreed to and the jobs were not finished, like the plumbing. We had and still have problems with everything that is connected through the plumbing (both of our bathtubs, our shower, our kitchen sink, our two toilets, and both bathroom sinks). We went to court with them and ended up settling on enough to pay the cost they put out for the parts they were charging us extra for. Since the summer of 2010, we have had to call them or someone else to our house about every 6 months to fix something. Usually it is items associated with our furnace/air conditioner. We have spent about $3,000 or more in costs to them and to other companies (because we got tired of dealing with the people who originally put in the system) to fix this for us. We had the original people here back in May of 2011 to fix the air conditioner, we had the original people here in October of 2011 to fix the thermostat and furnace, then about two weeks ago we had problems with our air conditioner turning on so we ended up calling another company to come out and fix it, then yesterday our water heater went out and we are in the process of getting this fixed now by yet another company. The incident about 2 weeks ago cost us almost $500 to fix and while they were here, they said that the part they were fixing looked like it had been broke since October when the original company was out here to fix the furnace and that they fix primarily what this original company messes up and that they believed this original company was crooked in their ways. Then yesterday when we called a new company about fixing our water heater, they said that we need a whole new water heater now because the original company did not install it correctly, which is going to run us now $900. The guy that came over yesterday said that the original company left a leak in the pipes they put in above our water heater, causing it to drip onto our water heater and cause damage to the top of our water heater. Not only that but the original company had not used the proper size of water heater that we needed and had not put the water heater up on blocks to get it out of the way of possible water and/or mud (our basement where they installed all of this is a crawlspace where it is wet at some points, especially when it rains a lot). Because they had not put it properly on blocks, the bottom of the water heater had rusted out and had ruined all of the parts that are in the water heater to help it turn on a run. The guy that came out yesterday also said that the people who originally installed this are constantly being sued for not doing the job correctly and that they only do a job halfway so that they have to be called back out to the house so that they can charge more. He also said that he fixes mostly problems this company has caused customers and that they are crooked in the way they do business.There are other items that are wrong, like our two toilets both leak and we are trying to fix those. Both of our bathtubs leak and we cannot use them. The upstairs bathtub leaks so bad we now have water damage to our kitchen ceiling. All three household sink leak and we are in the process of fixing this as well. Our shower leaks and has caused some damage as well to our kitchen ceiling (the upstairs bathroom is right above our kitchen).

The questions I have are the following:

Do we have a case and how much could we sue for?

Have we ran out of time due to the statutes of limitations?

What type of lawyer do we need to pursue this case?

Asked on 4/04/12, 9:42 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Kenneth Wilk Rubino Ruman Crosmer & Polen

1. You MAY have a case. First, however, you need to get a qualified plumbing and HVAC contractor to review your situation and give you an opinion as to what, if anything, was done wrong; how much it would cost repair; and whether any damages were caused by the improper work. The measure of your damages is the cost of fixing whatever wasn't done right and whatever damages were caused to your house.

2. It is possible that part of your claim might have lapsed. but there are different lengths of time to bring suit, depending on whether it's damage to personalty, damage to realty, contract, warranty. Only a lawyer could tell you for sure after you have given him all of the particulars.

3. You need a lawyer who understands construction and real estate/property damage.

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Answered on 4/04/12, 1:46 pm

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