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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10944
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I used to run a home improvements company as a sole

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I used to run a home improvements company as a sole trader. The company no longer runs. My company carried some home improvements for a client 18months ago. Within the last 6-8 weeks the toilet leaked. As I own a different company with a different phone number the client couldn't contact me. They went through their home insurance and was paid out to fix the leak. The insurance company has sent me a letter stating I need to pay them £5000. Upon talking to the client he didn't divulge how much his insurance company paid out but did tell me it was nowhere near £5000. Am I even liable for this works as anything could of happened to that toilet within the last-8months?
1. In order that you can be held liable for the costs of repair, there must be some evidence of negligence in how you carried out the home improvement works. Some element of fault on your part is necessary if you are to be held liable. You cannot be mae liable if the equipment used was defective as this would be the manufacturer's responsibility. Similarly if the toilet simply failed due to use, you cannot be held liable. There must be some element of fault on your part in order that you be made liable. Additionally, you cannot be made liable without limitation of liability if you were at fault. You can only be liable to the extent that the insurance company paid out and then only for the extent to which your fault caused the liability. So here the insurance company have acted wrongly in seeking to levy you with a bill, higher than what they paid out to the home owner. Additionally, you should seek the insurance company to show some fault on your part. You cannot simply be made liable just because you did the home improvement works.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The insurance company have had a plumber conduct an Investigation and his reports (which I haven't a copy of) states that a seal wasn't fitted correctly. The toilet has been installed and working fine for 18months so if any deal was incorrectly fitted there would of been a leak well before now.
What's my next step? What do I ask the insurance company to provide me with? Also how should I approach the insurance company to tell them I am not liable? Does the fact that this sole trader business no longer trades make a difference?
2. YOu need to get your own expert report which examines the toilet or which commentsron what the plumber found and which repeats what you said and which refutes liability. then you send a copy of this report to the insurance company. Firstly, however, you need a copy of this plumber's report so your own expert can read it and comment upon it. Once you have your own report, you get a solicitor to formally write to the insurance company on your behalf and refute liability. The issue that the sole trader business no longer trades makes no difference as sole trader liability follows the person who was operating as a sole trader. This is why businesses generally incorporate as a limited company.
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