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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70111
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi 1 year ago i was decorating the outside of a house with

Customer Question

Hi
1 year ago i was decorating the outside of a house with another colleague,he was burning some paint when he managed to set the building on fire ,it was a freak accident,the problem is nor me or him were insured,but the owner of the house in question told me not to worry that he was using his insurance to cover the damage and let us off the hook,he aslo mentioned that he told the insurers that i was like a goodfriend of his and i was just helping him painting the building,1year has passed and today i recived a letter from axa insurers stating that they understand i was emplyed by ms Lubel to repaint some sash windows to the property,also to reply to their letter asap to discuss the work that i was carrying ,im not sure what to do from this point onwards and also i didnt have the chance to speak to the house owners,what shall i do now?much appreciated
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you asking if you are liable?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

im not sure iam liable to be honest,actually im not sure of anything to be perfectly honest Jo

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

iam asking if i shall reply to this letter for a start,and if yes if iam liable as well,but also could this be some sort of a trick letter,the people who hired me told me they were gonna use their insurance and just say i was helping the owner as im a friend..

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I am afraid you are in difficulty here.
Certainly there is no defence in saying that the householder told you he would not claim against you. Its all very well for him to say that and clearly he has claimed upon his insurance but that doesn't mean the insurance cannot claim against you. Unfortunately, the house was set on fire and the insurance company do have a claim.
The only point you do have is that you were not the person who set the house on fire. If he was employed by you then he is your agents and you are liable for his actions. If you were employed by him then you are not liable. If you were both employed by another person then the claim should be against him and your employer unless, of course, the suggestion is to be that you were involved in some way.
Sorry if thats bad news.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

one last thing, if the owner of the house in question hired me without a contract as well hes he liable or iam i still liable?thank you for all,very helpfull..

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
There is a contract. It might not be written but there is a contract. Even if you were not paid there is a contract Im afraid.
Whether you are liable depends on your relationship with the person who caused this. If its just that you were hired by the home owner with him then he is liable and not you.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70111
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

am i gonna be faced with prison possibly if it goes to court and i lose?thank you

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, its a civil matter.

The worst that will happen is that you will get a CCJ.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

a ccj means i have to pay money,correct?what if i dont have any at all?what happens?this really is the last for today ,thanks for your time.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes.

If you don't they will send bailiffs in to seize your goods. You don't go to prison for this type of debt.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

its rather serious im affraid ,heard that the damage to the property was in the region of £250.000,the whole roof and first floor are gone..im just trying to see whats really the worse it can happen if it happens,im quite a poor person and have almost next to nothing of personal values ,it just doesnt cover anything ..im sure there is some more serious consequences coming out of the court,possibly?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
You can't go to prison for this type of debt.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

can i not say ,that i was a a friend of the owner and was helping him out carrying the work?what will happen if i ignore the insurance company letter?what is the best way to go from here?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes you can if that is what happened but that wouldn't make you exempt from liability. Of you set a friends house on fire then you can liable for the damage.

If you ignore them then they probably will sue and win.

I think I covered your options above.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

so whats my best option from here?shall i write to the insurance company and tell the truth ,also stating got no assets to be seized or sold,and maybe i will become bankrupt ?im just trying figure what to do to minimize my impact wich doesnt look very good,im still waiting to hear from the owners of the property but i have a feeling they not going to answer me,i wanted to asked them what was their statement as they told me from the first minute they werer gonna say i was helping them ,but it seems they went the other venue ,at least thats what the letter from insurancesays ,i attached it on this message

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
You may as well write to them setting down your defence.

The owners of the property will not get involved in this probably. They have had the money from their insurers and the insurers are trying to recover from you which was always going to happen.

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