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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71146
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I did fencing job, and damaged life neighbours cable which

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I did fencing job, and damaged life neighbours cable which was concreted in (against all safety regulations). There was no electric scheme in the property, cable was concreted on low depth 5mm FROM FENCE POST, no warning tape was in the ground. Now electric company sent me bill - 400 pounds. Their viewing - I have damaged the cable (it is front drive ways, cable runs from the street to building). My point is - it is not my mistake that their cables are in big disorder under the ground. In result of that my life was at risk. I think persons who did illegal concreting in round the cable should be found and investigation done. I made pictures after accident and have it as a proof. I went to emergency/accident department in hospital, was waiting there for one hour, but there was a lot of people and I decided just to go home (I was better already). Could you please tell me who is right and how can I protect my self in this situation.

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Do you know who laid the cable?

When was it put in situ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Jo,
Thanks for your email, the cable is Southern Electric Power Distribution companies property, so I would think they level that. But there seems somebody else build the fence and concreted cable round 5mm from wooden posts. I don't have information when it was, but I think not less than few years ago - the post was rotted and I needed to replace it. Southern El. P. Dist in their email tell that they are not responsible for building work which was done after laying cable and want to get 400 pounds of me. But why I should be responsible for those who did concreting cable?

There is actually no statutory depth to which cables should be laid although there are various guidelines, so it comes down to common sense if this gets to court.

Any claim for injury needs to be reasonably foreseeable and that could be problematical here. However although this was frightening I am sure, you weren’t injured. BUT it would still be worth consulting a personal injury lawyer who may want to take it on if they can prove that you suffered some kind of psychological or psychiatric damage (PTSD) from this. I think it unlikely but it’s worth a few phone calls.

I think the best you could hope for would probably be to get 50% of whatever you are claiming on the basis that you are partially responsible for not investigating 1st to see whether there were only underground cables. I know that you would not normally expect them in this situation but nonetheless, you didn’t look it seems. That is the view the court would take.

However, the question was not about injury but was about the cost of the cable and I mention the injury because it may be a way of getting the electricity company to drop the matter or at least drop part of it.

My suggestion would be to put it to the electricity company that they have been negligent in placing this cable where they placed it and that accordingly, you should not be responsible for the cost of it. Tell them that you believe that you have a claim for personal injury as a result of the negligent placing of the cable.

If they are still unmoved I would either let them take me to the Small Claims Court for the cost of doing this or offer to give them 50%.

If they do not accept 50% I would let them take me to court for the whole lot and let the judge decide whether they are to blame or you are to blame.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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