Q: What type of lawyer should I contact to handle a solar company? We have had damage done to our home due to water leaks.
They have been out 4 times already to try and fix the problem. We now have 3 rooms of ceiling damage. We want panels off, roof replaced and contract loan taken care of. They have not fixed or ceilings with water damage.
A: You need to retain an experienced civil litigation attorney, who has substantial experience handling home improvement contractor cases that violate both the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Act and The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. Although you would at all times be responsible for your own legal fees and costs, a finding in your favor under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act would entitle you to triple damages plus attorney fees. With modern technology, you have no geographic barriers to prevent you from getting the best possible attorney for your case. In addition, it is extremely rare to find a home improvement contract that complies with the requirements of the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Act.
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If the solar panel company is in violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), they could be liable to you for treble (triple) damages as well as your attorney fees and costs. There are multiple ways the company can be in violation of the CFA. To get a better understanding of these violations, you should consult with an attorney. The damages you may be able to seek reimbursement for would include the cost to have the water damage inside your house and on your roof repaired. Quite often, the solar panel contract will specify whether the company is liable for water penetration caused by the solar panels being on your roof, and it should detail the period of time the company guarantees that the roof will be watertight. The contract should also specify who is responsible for having the panels removed so work can be done on the roof and who is responsible for having the panels reinstalled.
An experienced attorney will be able to review your contract and give you more detailed advice on what to do to move forward with a case. If you start with a consultation, you will have a better understanding of your rights under the law. As the previous attorney mentioned, you may be responsible for some or all of the attorney fees and costs, but any lawyer who would take your case should fight for the attorney fees to be paid or reimbursed by the solar panel company, if the company is in violation of the CFA.
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