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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71135
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My car was damaged whilst parked in my parking bay outside

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My car was damaged whilst parked in my parking bay outside my home. Contractors were working on the road using heavy diggers etc and it is apparent that one of their vehicles has hit my car. They are denying all responsibility. I only have circumstantial evidence, no witnesses, only photos of the damage and the location. Is it worth pursuing them for a settlement?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
How do you know they were the cause?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have no definite proof. One of their diggers was exactly the same height and shape as the damage to the car. They were digging up the road and verges to lay cables, the level of activity and disruption was considerable. I have lived here for 21 years and no car has ever been damaged in the parking bay until the workmen arrived.

I suppose you haven't told your insurers about this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, I have. It is now down on my policy as my fault, even though the car was parked. I did not make a claim as the car was in the process of being sold. The new owner is waiting for me to repair the damaged wing.

Yes, that is insurance companies for you.
You could sue the digger's employer. It is evidence to say that the circumstances are such that it could only have been them even if there is no direct evidence of them causing damage. Also the fact that the diggers match the height and shape of the damage is sufficient to give rise to an inference.
It would be irresponsible of me to tell you that your case is as strong as it would be if somebody had seen them. You probably realise that already.
However, there is an arguable case.
The truth also is that they may well settle. It is likely to be a small claims court sum and they will not want to litigate over that.
You could always send them a letter before action making the point that the damage to your car matches their diggers and see what offers they make. That is often very effective. People will offer something to avoid having to go to court.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the advice. I had already written to the sub contractors pointing out that their vehicle matched the damage to the car, and threatening them with the Small claims court on 15th Dec. This is the email that they are ignoring. Guess they are forcing my hand and I'll just have to go ahead with the claim. I was considering writing to Northern Powergrid to advise them that I am having difficulty getting a response from their sub contractors, is this worth a try? I was hoping that they would make a goodwill payment for the sake of maintaining good public relations - bit naïve of me perhaps! What do you think?

It is worth complaining. It is always worth complaining. It gets you far more than you would ever get in court.
Sometimes they will ignore letters before action but will settle when people issue. In fairness, lots of people do send in complaints and then not act upon them so I suppose they think that if they ignore them it will go away.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,

Following your last response I have sent a recorded delivery letter to Northern Powergrid, asserting that they and their various contractors and sub contractors are all jointly and severably liable for the damage to my car.

I complained about the unsatisfactory way my complaint has been handled and have asked them for a settlement by 13th February, or I will start proceedings through the Small Claims court.

I hope this works, the thought of Court proceedings worries me, but I am absolutely convinced that they are responsible for the damage, so I am going down fighting. It's only £250 that I am asking for, which is not a great sum for them

No, and it is not really cost effective for them to contest it so it might work out in your favour.