HOME IMPROVEMENT LITIGATION
Nothing can be more personal than the place you call home.
Many homeowners and contractors are not aware that there are a number of statutes that protect homeowners from contractors who do not do quality work, use improper materials, and/or do not complete the job it on time--or even complete it at all for that matter. When insurance is involved, there are a number of other requirements that apply. Often times, this means homeowners are on great legal footing to initiate a lawsuit against contractors and potentially get attorney’s fees and three times damages (certain notices and demands need to be sent in a timely manner, however).
On the same hand, if a contractor is in compliance with and follows the relevant statutes, homeowners’ claims can be significantly reduced or eliminated.
The Home Improvement Contract Act, Indiana Statutory Home Improvement Warranty Act, and the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act are the main and important statutes at play in any home improvement litigation.
There are a number of deadlines both homeowners and contractors need to follow and actions that need to be taken from a legal perspective to preserve claims from a home owner’s perspective and responses and actions that need to be taken from a contractor’s perspective.
PODLASKI LLP Attorneys have years of experience in litigating and successfully resolving Home Improvement/Home Renovation Litigation Cases and/or Contractor Disputes. To make sure you are carefully following the salient statutes to preserve and protect your rights, involve us involved early and often in your dispute.
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Q: WHAT CAN I DO AS A HOME OWNER RIGHT NOW?
The most important thing to do for any kind of litigation is to preserve evidence for your case. This means, preserve any contracts (make a digital copy too), take pictures, make video recordings, make audio recordings, keep emails, text messages. To expedite the demand and notice process, obtain estimates from licensed and bonded contractors (doing the leg work here also can save you money on up front attorney's fees).
Q: WHAT ARE MY REMEDIES?
If you are a homeowner: under Indiana law as long as proper notice and demand are sent, the requisite timelines pass, and the contractor does not properly respond, you could be awarded three times your actual damages and attorney's fees.
If you are a contractor: if you follow the statutes and are still sued, it may be possible to recoup attorney's fees depending on a number of factors, including if such a provision exists in your contract. If a court deems a homeowner's suit frivolous, you may have a statutory basis to collect fees.
Q: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
Every case has different facts--even if it involves a contractor or homeowner we have dealt with previously. If parties agree there are issues and are eager to save capital, we are often successful in getting an early resolution prior to filing suit. If insurance is involved, that can protract the timeline. If suit is necessary, a typical home improvement claim can take 1-1.5 years until we reach a resolution. Factors outside our control like COVID 19 has expanded that timeframe by about 6 months.
Q: WHAT IS MY CASE WORTH?
Every case is different and the results ultimately depend on a number of factors, including what your actual damages are, if we prevail at trial or some other dispositive stage of litigation, and what if any statutory multipliers are awarded. Actual damages are essentially the calculable out of pocket expenses you have incurred. They can be affected by value of work conferred and a number of other factors.