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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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An object from our house landed on our neighbours car and did

Customer Question

An object from our house landed on our neighbours car and did some minor damage to it.
Could you tell us if they can take us to the small claims court if we have made an offer of either part or full payment for the repairs. Also they did not show us any estimates which were promised and just went ahead with the repairs. Can they demand full payment without prior consultation.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Did it blow off as a result of wind please or otherwise?

Joshua :

Is the relevent part of your house adequately maintained or do you think the neighbours could possbly argue that the object fell off due to inadequate maintenance on your part?

Customer:

yes it blew off during the 23rd Dec storm and it was adequately maintained and they cannot prove otherwise.

Joshua :

Thanks. On that basis they have no claim agaisnt you. In order to claim against you they must establish negligence on our part - e.g. if your roof was in a poor state of repair and a tile falls off this could be negligence. However if something blows off as a result of a storm and there is no evidence of negligence on your part then they have no claim against you at all and it is a matter for them to resolve either themselves or through their household insurance as they prefer.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

yes, could you please answer the original questions about the small claims court and the estimates, as we are considering making an offer of part payment as a gesture of goodwill.

Joshua :

Certainly. As a consequence of the above whilst they could of course issue proceedings in the small claims court you could ask that these are struck out on the basis that you are not liable as above or defend the proceedings on the same basis.

Joshua :

Based on what you say you would not be liable for anything and therefore the issue of reasonability of the amounts requested does not enter however notwithstanding this the law requires any claimants claims to be reasonable and for the claimant to mitigate any losses it claims for so far as reasonably possible.

Joshua :

If you are considering making an offer ensure you do so under cover of a letter that is headed "WITHOUT PREJUDICE" and state that whilst you do not accept any liability as a gesture of goodwill you make an offer of "x in full and final settlement of the matter.

Joshua :

This will ensure that the letter does not accidentally acknowledge any acceptance of liability on your part.

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Customer:

" however notwithstanding this the law requires any claimants claims to be reasonable and for the claimant to mitigate any losses it claims for so far as reasonably possible."

Customer:

Sorry but could you just explain the last sentence I sent to you, what do you mean by mitigate.

Joshua :

Sure - essentially the law requires them to minnimise their claims as much as possible. Example say they obtained two quotes for repair and one was £100 and another £200. The law would require them to use the cheaper - i.e. minimise (mitigate) their costs.

Joshua :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

yes it does but unfortunately they did not show us any estimates and took the car straight to a garage to be repaired so where does that leave us as regards XXXXX XXXXX claim. Have they failed to follow correct procedures?

Joshua :

Well you are not liable for anything based on what you say so you have free choice of telling them you will pay nothing, offering them something that you thinkn is fair as above or paying everything they ask for as you prefer. Based on what you have told me they do not appear to have a legal claim so are entitled to nothing.

Joshua :

If you think their claim is unfair but you want to offer something, then consider a figure that you feel is fair as above.

Customer:

Thank you for all your help. Can you tell me if I will be able to refer back to all of your advice on line in the future if I need to write any letters.

Joshua :

A pleasure. Yes of course. You can return to the thread at any time from your customer homepage via Justanswer. You can also copy and paste the text into a document and save on your computer. Please let me know if you would like me to ask customer services to assist you with any of this.

Customer:

No that's fine, I can do that and thank you again for all your help.

Joshua :

A pleasure. If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though.

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
Joshua and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello - I have just one more question. If I made an offer in writing to pay half the costs of the repairs and not admitting any liability, could the claimant still start proceedings in the small claims court with an offer pending, as I have been informed they cannot start proceedings with an offer pending.

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
Yes they can though if you make an offer headed "WITHOUT PREJUDICE SAVE AS TO COSTS" then unless they achieve a higher figure than that offered they will not be able to claim costs from you whether they win or lose.

Also consider including the above caveats in your letter - gesture of good will , without liability etc.

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