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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Internationational Commercial Attorney
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I subcontracted a roof job 8/22/2008. On November 2, 2012 I

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I subcontracted a roof job 8/22/2008. On November 2, 2012 I was contacted by mail saying that the customer was suing the company I subcontracted from "due to damages as a result of poor workmanship and flashing in the installation" the customer is claiming she got water in her house in the winter of 2010 and it caused damages. The company tried to service the roof on multiple occasions, but never contacted me. The customer put a claim against the company and was awarded 6,000 of which their insurance paid. Now, their insurance adjuster is trying to get money from me or my insurance company. I do not believe I am responsible for this bill. For one I never had a contract between me and the other company or me and the customer. For two, I was never told there was a problem until the customer was suing the company. Should I just ignore this? Or should I have a lawyer or myself respond claiming I'm not responsible? Could I be held responsible?

Thank you for your question.

You say that there was no contract between you and the other company or you and the customer. Were you not the general contractor on the job?

Are you saying you did not have written agreements for anyone on this job?

Did you do any work on the roof at all that might have contributed to the claimed damage?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The job was contracted between the customer and city sash. City sash was the general contractor. They sold them a roof job. They subcontracted the job to me. But I had no contract with them. I did the roof but there were no leaks for two years. At that time, I know there was a record ice storm that the customer is claiming the leak began. Once again, I was never informed by city sash that there was a problem until nov 2012. Even if I did have a contact between city sash and my company it would of been a one year workmanship warranty. But there was no contract.
Thank you for your response and for clearing up my confusion.

Because you performed the roof job, you could be liable for the amount asserted by the customer and settled by the general contractor's insurance company. The insurance company has a right to seek "subrogation" against you for any damages they settle which might be your fault. That means that they get to try and prove that it was your fault and ask you to reimburse them.

Accordingly, because you believe that it was not your fault and that the roof was not damaged as the customer asserted, you have the absolutely right to refuse to pay the insurance companies demands. The best way to go about doing this is to respond formally rather than to ignore the matter.

Do you have any sort of liability insurance for your contracting business?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes, we have liabity insurance. But how can they come back on us over 4 years later? Especially without a contract?
Where there is no written contract but work is performed pursuant to an agreement, the law will imply a contract between the parties. You, as a subcontractor, have an implied contract with the general contractor. Further, there is an implied warranty of good and workman like quality which attaches to the work you perform.

Claims for breach of construction related implied warranties and implied contracts have a statute of limitations of 4 years, which do not begin to run until the date of the incident bringing about liability. In this case, the incident was the water damage in 2010. Accordingly, the claim made was still in the statute of limitations.

Further, the claim for subrogation such as this actually has a 6 year statute of limitations.

What I recommend is turning this demand over to your insurance company ASAP to let them know its out there. Generally, your insurance company should investigate and determine whether to pay the subrogation claim or to refuse and offer you a defense.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.

Best Regards,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I had one insurance company in 2008 and another in 2010. Which one do I contact?
The answer will depend on the type of insurance policy that you had (a claims made police or an occurance policy).

I would recommend submitting the claim to both insurance companies and letting them figure out for themselves which one owes you coverage.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So, would you recommend in the future when I do subcontracting to have a contractor between the general contractor and myself that states a 1 year warranty. To prevent this in the future?
Yes. A written contract which you require your Gens to sign which limit your warranty on the work, and also specifically state that the Gen waives its right to make a subrogation claim against you.
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