How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 75057
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

I employed a plumber as a sub contractor, he caused a leak

Customer Question

Hello, i employed a plumber as a sub contractor, he caused a leak and made water marks appear downstairs in the hallway, the client basically told me to get my tools and guys and not to come back, I have reimbursed the client with 2k, but I still done work and have an outstanding payment of 4.3k left. am I in my right to charge for the costs still?
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: No, I own the company. The client told me to get my employees off the job & pack up.
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: No I don’t
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: that’s it thanks
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

What is the value of the damage? Please note this is not always an instant service and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your question and will get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Well there wasn’t a value, it was just some water marks from where the water came down onto the ceiling. Directly below the bathroom.The client just made the figure and said £500.They also came up with the bath was damaged, toilet was chipped by us.Then continued coming up with random things, basically saying keeping me hostage until I paid £2,000.Also just before leaving mentioned £500 additional for an electrician to come and see a light bulb… but I instantly refused.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

Thank you very much for clarifying. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

As the plumber was your subcontractor, you would be liable for any damage caused by him. However, your liability will only stretch to the costs/damages incurred by his negligence. So if he caused a leak, which cause some damage to the property, the liability will cover whatever it costs to fix that damage or replace any damaged goods/materials.

Any money owed for other works, which were carried out successfully, are still owed to you and if the client is refusing to pay you, then you can consider pursuing them further for it.

If money is owed by one party to another, the debtor can potentially be taken to court to try and force them to pay up. However, as legal action should only be used as a last resort, there are certain steps that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without the need to involve the courts. It is therefore recommended that the following steps are taken in order to try and resolve this:

1. Reminder letter – if no informal reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the other party to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but have been ignored, the other party must be sent a formal ‘letter before action’ asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time – 14 days is reasonable. They should be advised that if they fail to make contact to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue them for the money that is owed. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this without the need for legal action. There are numerous templates available online for such letters and a simple search will bring up a list of useful results.

3. If the letter before action is also ignored, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to  There will be a fee payable, which depends on the amount that is claimed. The debtor will eventually get a copy of the claim and they will have a limited time to answer it. They could accept it and pay what is owed, they could accept it only in part and defend the rest, or they could outright reject it. They could also completely ignore it, in which case judgment will eventually be entered automatically against them. Also, it is worth noting that the simple act of submitting a claim could show the debtor that this is being taken seriously and prompt them to consider negotiating a potential solution to stop the claim progressing further, such as offering full or partial repayment.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Ok thanks ben,Well regarding the damages both parties agreed on £2,000.The rest of the work we done is still done but obviously part completed at about 90% completion.Just so we're clear. I am right to send the invoice to the other party.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

Hi there, thank you for your further queries, which I will be happy to answer. Yes, you can indeed do so assuming it is for works already completed to a reasonable standard

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

Hello, I trust that everything has now been dealt with to your satisfaction and your original question has been resolved. If you have any further queries about it, please do not hesitate to get back to me on here. In the meantime, I wish you all the best.