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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.
May I clarify with you from what you say that Jewsons has accepted liability and is either repairing the damage or is paying for the damage to be repaired please?
Is the house that was damaged your parents or yours or do you live together?
Yes they have accepted liabilty and have repaired the bulk of the damage through thier insuerer. Jewsons is owned by Saint Gobain and i now at last have an email address and contatc number of someone there wwho wrote today to apologise. I do live with my parents,
From what you say I believe I understand correctly that a chimney stack was pulled onto your/your parents house and damaged it. If this is correct may I ask what damage was actually caused to the house
yes thats correect, chimney stack was destroyed, and two side of roof damaged. We have had to have flue replaced and gas fire replaced. Fortunatly no water damage as yet!
Thanks. Finally I hope what impact practically has this had on you all - leaving worrying aside just for now. For example have you not been able to use any rooms for any period, or vacate the house or used more heating?
no to vacating or more heating but we did not use our main living room for five anad half months. When the plumber came to do the fire 5 1/2 months after the incident flue was out of alignment and shoudl have been straight away and not left so long, so it was a good thing we were not sitting in there.
Thanks. In law the basis for action is under the law of Tort. This is the same law that underpins personal injury claims, road traffic accidents and the like. From what you say damage has been caused to your property but fortunately no injury was caused. As a consequence the legal owner(s) of the property have a claim against Jewsons for negligence under Tort and can claim damages for the cost of reconstruction and restoration of the property or require that they put it right to your reasonable satisfaction. This much is straight forward and from what you say other than a delay is proceeding without argument. As to what you can claim beyond this is slightly more challenging however further claims are potentially possible as follows:
you can seek to claim further general damages for loss of amenity in the property for the period in question. This type of damages is designed to compensate for the loss or partial loss of use of a property. from what you say, you have been unable to use the sitting room because of a potential danger of the flue and could seek damages for that which would typically be assessed based on a rentable value of the property with and without the sitting room for the period in question.
Similarly if any part of the garden was unusable a similar claim could be made though such a claim would be more nominal in the case of the garden.
It is in principle possible to also claim damages for the impact the circumstances have had on your parents however such damages are classed as aggravated or exemplary damages and the courts are less willing to grant such damages generally. Such damages are generally granted as a form of punishment where the courts are satisfied that the manner of the conduct of the other party is such as to have increased the damage caused to you. Issues the courts will consider is injury of a persons feelings or dignity for example. However as above the test is relatively substantial and aggravated damages will not be awarded as a matter of course.
Thankyou, you know if they had come up the next day wiht a bottle of wine and some flowers we may have let it go at a repair, but after the way the building company they supplied has been and the fact that at no time until today was an apology offered, I think we have a case on loss of amenity. How woudl you recommend we proceed?
you could consider therefore writing to the company advising that you are pleased that work is finally progressing but raising your concern regarding the length of time the matter has taken to resolve and the impact it has had upon your parents and in restricting your use of a substantial part of your property for the period in question. You can go onto set out a figure or figures that you consider to be adequate compensation using some of the above information is a guide and asked that they consider a settlement on an amicable basis
if they are willing to settle the matter with a figure you are satisfied with, you can consider writing to them again advising that you remain unsatisfied with their offer whole lack thereof and regrettably unless they reconsider their position you will have little option but to consider issuing proceedings against the company
I'm not certain what sort of figure you have in mind but in the probably relatively safe assumption it would be under £10,000, then any claim you decided to make would be heard in the Small Claims Court and accordingly risks and costs to you are fairly low as you cannot be called upon to pay for the other party's legal costs whether you win or lose in the Small Claims Court and you do not need a solicitor to assist you with your claim-indeed it is discouraged in order to keep costs down. Accordingly, the only costs if you were not successful would be court fees which are manageable as follows:
The issue fee is dependent on the value of the claim as above.
Thank you very much, that gives me the confidence to proceed wiht them.
If the matter proceeds to a hearing there are some other fees, which are still manageable which you can find here:
page 5 - "hearing fees". As you will see we are talking double or low triple figures again depending on the claim. The only other thing to be aware of is that if you work to be unsuccessful and the other party does send a representative to defend your claim you may be ordered to pay their travel expenses which are limited to from memory around £80 or so.
of course if you are successful, the other party must pay all court fees and indeed your travel expenses. For large companies, they will often though by no means always will agree to pay amounts in triple figures and sometimes higher simply because it will cost them as much or more to pay for legal representation - though as above this cannot be relied upon and one should only proceed if one feels one has a genuine basis for a claim as you feel is the case here
if you decide to proceed with a claim, simplest way to issue proceedings is using the following link:
Have I been able to help you with all your questions on the above?
Sincer thanks that has defiantely helped.
A pleasure. If you need anything else please do not hesitate to revert to me. Good luck with your claim
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