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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3497
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I had a contractor working for me. He gave me a copy of his

Customer Question

I had a contractor working for me. He gave me a copy of his Public Liability insurance. One of his workers fell off a roof through scaffolding. He was back to work within a few hours but later claimed off me and the contractor. I did not have public liability insurance as I thought that the contractor was fully insured. At the court the contractor said that I owned the scaffolding (which I denied) and that he erected it. The judge awarded the worker £10,000 damages plus costs and ruled that I had to pay half the claim. Can I write to the judge personally or sue the contractor or the contractor's insurer or a would it be worth while appealing the case?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question and welcome.

My name is AJ and I will assist you.

Do you have a written agreement with the contractor?

Does the agreement say the contractor is responsible for all acts and omissions of his staff?

Was the ruling in anyway made on the basis of your negligence?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes
No, thought the the Public Liability would cover
Yes said I owned the scaffolding
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Unfortunately you cannot exclude liability for personal injury caused as a result of negligence.

What we therefore need to establish is the following:
1. Were you actually negligent? If the answer is no then I would consider appealing the hearing;
2. If the answer is yes - then you potentially you consider suing the contractor for your share on the basis that the contractor was implied to be solely responsible for his employees. Again the problem with such a claim is that you cannot exclude liability for personal injury caused by negligence.

Can you tell me a bit about the alleged negligence?
Have you considered suing the scaffolding company for your loss, as clearly if anyone was negligent, it was them?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The scaffolding belonged to the contractor (though he said that I ow edit)
I maintain that even if I owned the scaffolding and he admitted erecting it he was responsible. He employed the injured man and he was responsible for erecting the scaffolding. How could I have been made responsible for half the cost? Should he or his Insurance not have been made responsible for the whole claim?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Yes they should have been responsible for the whole claim. However the court has said that you are liable because of negligence. Therefore you cannot escape liability for that.

You have to prove you were not actually negligent. So on that basis on what grounds is it being alleged that you were negligent? Did you not put the scaffolding up correctly?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I did not put up the scaffolding up.
The contractor admitted in court that he put it up.
He said that I owned the scaffolding ( which I denied) but admitted that He put it up.Should the contractor not be responsible.?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I did not put up the scaffolding. How could I have been negligent? Would it not have been the builder's responsibility to have the scaffolding erected properly and check that the planks were all in good condition? I employed the building and made sure that he had public liability insurance. What else could I have done?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

This is what I am trying to establish. If you can prove you were not actually negligent then you should appeal the judgment made against you, or sue the contractor for their negligence and there fore a recovery of the loss you have suffered.

Do you know what the contractor did negligently? i.e to cause the accident?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

He did not have a qualified scaffolder erect the scaffolding
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Potentially you may have a claim against the contractors for failing to use reasonable care and skill in carrying out the job.

Was erecting the scaffolding entirely the contractors responsibility?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Ultimately the contractor was paid to erect the scaffolding. They did it negligently and accordingly you have suffered a loss - £5k payable to this employee.

Potentially you have a claim to recover this £5k for breach of the implied condition under S14 of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 - that the service will be carried out with reasonable care and skill.

This needs to be handled delicately you want to avoid having to appeal the county court judgment. What I suggest you do is get a local solicitor to write to the contract and demand he repay the loss, you can then say that if he is going to force you to appeal the Judgment you hold him to account for any costs you suffer as a result of that. This must come from a solicitor though to give you the gravitas to make him show your intentions are not to be doubted and you are holding him responsible for not using proper qualified scaffolders.

Kind regards

AJ

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