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LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 818
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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We have a driveway & garage adjoining a neighbour's

Customer Question

We have a driveway & garage adjoining a neighbour’s driveway and garage, both have flat roofs. The neighbour’s teenage son decided to put his large canoe unsecured on their garage roof for storage.
On a Saturday night (5th of this month) when it was very windy and whilst we were out the canoe blow off their garage roof onto the bonnet of our car causing damage to the windscreen, bonnet, headlamp, and wing. The car is a Mercedes and only a year old.
I removed the canoe off the car and put it in their driveway as they were out, and left a note to say what had happened. The next day they came round, apologised and suggested we claim on their house insurance. I obtained an estimate for repair which was £2450.00 and posted a copy through their letterbox with a polite covering letter explaining that the damage and repair was worse than first thought after being examined at the garage.
The next day neighbour posted a letter saying they were sorry for what happened, but unless we can prove negligence to their insurers there is nothing else they are willing to do.
We then asked for their insurance details, but they are now refusing to provide them. I have contacted my car insurance who stated that they will write and ask for the details, but if they do not provide them there is nothing they can do. Also, they said that even if they did provide them it is very unlikely that the neighbour’s insurers will accept liability due to an ‘act of god’.
If I solely claim on my insurance for the damage, I will have to pay a £600.00 excess and loose a ten year no claims bonus which seems totally unfair.
Can I, and is it worth pursuing through a small claims Court?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to answer this for you.
Just as an initial point if you bring the action your self it is unlikely that you will be able to turn to your insurers for help later on if you need to.
Yes, you can bring a claim in the small claims court.
YOu shold lend a letter to them stating the follwing
1: how the damage was caused to your car,
2: the extent of the damage and cost of repair,
3: enclose photos and estimates/bills if you have them.
4: that you hold them responsible,
5: that it is clear negligence,
6: give them a time limit to pay (eg 21-28 days)
7; state you will issue proceedings after that date if they have not paid in full
8: that you will seek an order for your reasonable expenses in bringing the claim
9 that they should pass the letter to their insurers.
If they don't pay then you should follow this link and issue a claim on line
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the reply. My concern is that given the circumstances is a Court likely to find in my favour i.e clear negligence, or in your experience more likely to fail as the wind caused this to happen (not considered as negligence) wasting time and costing more money?
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
Yes it is clear negligence. The winds were not so exceptional were they?. As they say in Latin Res ipsa loquitor.
He had a duty to make sure that the canoe did not cause damage to you if got windy.
It was reasonably foreseeable that there would be strong winds.
You suffered harm as a result.
It looks like he has been negligent.