Can I sue a contractor for a roof that he put on almost 6 years ago that was not installed correctly?

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Can I sue a contractor for a roof that he put on almost 6 years ago that was not installed correctly?

I provided the materials and he provided the labor. I don’t think the shingles were installed correctly; it will be 6 years next month since the roof was put on.

Asked on September 23, 2011 under Business Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You *may* be able to sue. The time limit to sue is defined by what's known as the "statute of limitations" or SOL. The SOL varies for every cause of action, or grounds to sue. On the face of it, you may be out of time; the SOL for negligence causing damage to property, such performing work negligently, is only 2 years in Indiana. On the other hand, though, the SOL for oral contracts is 6 years and the SOL for written contracts is 10 years. If you can link this to breach of contract or agreement with the contractor, which you may be able to  do--i.e. he agreed to install the shingles properly; he did not, thereby breaching the agreement--you would seem to have enough time to sue if there had been a written agreement, and *possibly* be still in time if it were an oral agreement.

Assuming you can get in under the SOL, then when a contractor does substandard work, if you can show it was substandard, not to spec, against code, etc., you can generally sue. So since you may have a cause of action--but also may be running out of time--you should consult with an attorney about bringing a legal action immediately.


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