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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32364
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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I had the local gas company come to my house yesterday to replace

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I had the local gas company come to my house yesterday to replace the gas meter. Along with that, the service guy had to do something with my water heater tank which is run by gas. All yesterday I had hot water but the very next day no hot water. The company is telling me they will have someone come out to re-light the pilot (if that is the case) but after that visit they will not come no more. They also told me I have no parts and labor contract with them but I feel that doesn't matter because they do not own my water heater anyway. My argument is even though my water heater is 16 years old, there was nothing wrong with my water heater before the service guy came to my house and the very next day there is no hot water. I speculate the service guy didn't know what he was doing down there and has damaged something. I don't want to be stuck paying for a new water heater if that is the case. Do I have a strong lawsuit? If so, what type of lawyer do I need to contact.

JD 1992 : Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.
JD 1992 : Do you mean do you have a lawsuit if there was damage done?
Customer: May 22nd: visit from service guy to change gas meter inside my house (water heater was perfectly working)
Customer: May 22nd, I had hot water all day
Customer: May 23rd (today), I wake up and no hot water at all
Customer: I suspect the service guy did some damage to my water heater.
JD 1992 : If he damaged the water heater then you would have a case.
Customer: If this is the case, can I sue the gas company for the damages to my water heater? (if I have to replace it with a new unit)
JD 1992 : However, what is most likely is that you have air in your lines. That will knock out a pilot light.
JD 1992 : You can sue for the amount of labor to install a water heater and the value of the water heater that they broke.
JD 1992 : The law doesn't allow for replacement cost, it is the value of the item at the time it was damaged.
Customer: But if that is the case, how do I prove he damaged my water heater?
JD 1992 : You can do it by the temporal relationship alone, it wasn't broken the day before it was broken that day.
Customer: Is there a specialist or someone I can use to prove my water heater has been damaged? And what type lawyer would I need for this?
JD 1992 : You would want a lawyer who does civil trial law or civil litigation. Talk to them about an expert, it would probably be a plumber of some sort but you want them to help you pick one so that you know they are qualified and that they are a good witness.
Customer: I want to point out that all yesterday I did have hot water. The gas company asked me that today. I believe the water was already hot in the tank and cool down over the past 24 hours. If this means anything...
JD 1992 : That is the way it would work. As I said, it's probably just air in the lines and when it sputters the pilot light goes out. When he relights it ask him to watch it for a while to see if it goes out again.
Customer: Is this something I can do myself or is it best to always get someone professional to re-light the water heater?
JD 1992 : I've relit mine a lot of times but I don't know how safe it is.
JD 1992 : If they are no charging you then get them to light it, just to be safe.
JD 1992 : In addition, if they did damage something then you have a record of them coming out to light it.
Customer: Well, I hope it is just a re-lighting issue and no wires weren't damaged. I'll have them re-light it and if it goes out again, I'll have a professional heating service company come look at the water heater to see if they see damage. Is the best route to go?
JD 1992 : Yes, that would be the way to approach it.
Customer: Okay, thanks for your service.
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