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Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6453
Experience:  Solicitor
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I occasionally host students from P***** L******* College

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I occasionally host students from P***** L******* College who require a lift to the college in my car. My car door was damaged by a student (aged 14) who failed to close it properly and the car door then flew open and hit a metal post on my driveway. The college were informed the same day, I provided 3 quotes as requested and then got the repair completed as the car was not secure. Repairs cost over £500. This was 6 months ago in March 2015. Since then, the college have refused to communicate regarding their insurance so that I can claim some/all of the cost incurred. E-mails are ignored, text messages to the Principal are ignored and a formal complaint to the College via their website has also been ignored with no reply received. Please advise me regarding my legal position. I am prepared to negotiate a settlement but the College are not communicating with me.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help yuo wtih this.
What is it you want to achieve please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply. I would like to achieve the following: 1) The College to communicate with me regarding this matter instead of ignoring my e-mails and texts over the past 7 months, and also a recent formal Complaint of their lack of response, so that a settlement can be agreed. 2) To achieve a financial settlement with the College which ideally would be the full cost of the repair to my car of £546. I am however prepared to negotiate on this and will accept a lower amount in order to get this matter settled within the next four weeks. I have written documentation stating that the College is insured against damage to host family possessions and property and that they recommend that students also take out insurance. I look forward to help with taking this matter forward to a successful conclusion. **** *****

You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.

If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: or by completing form N1 and take it to your local County Court.

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Please advise if this letter is appropriately structured and suitable. Can you also advise if my dispute is reasonable to pursue. Dear Mr and Mrs ….. Reference: A claim for compensation for damage to a Honda Jazz car caused by a student not closing the car door fully. I wish to inform you that I have taken legal advice on the above matter which was reported to you on March 11th 2016 and currently remains unresolved. Attempts to communicate with you in order to agree compensation for the damage to my car have remained unanswered. A formal complaint has also been made, to which I have not received an answer. As it has not been possible to resolve this matter amicably, and it is apparent that court action may be necessary, I write in compliance with the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct. The facts of the dispute are as follows: On March 11th 2016, I was transporting 3 homestay students aged 14 years of age from the B******* Group in my car to P***** L******* College at the end of their visit. I checked that seat belts were secured once the girls were in the car. Unknown to me and not obvious at this stage, the student sitting behind me had not closed the car door properly as she got in. As I reversed my car up the drive the car door flew open and got caught on the pillar on my drive causing significant damage. I advised P***** L******* College the same day, got quotes as requested and was advised by P***** L******* College that the French Agency usually are able to pay towards damages. The repairs were completed promptly as the car was not secure and receipts were forwarded to P***** L******* College. Since then I have contacted P***** L******* College by e-mail on 8 occasions between March 2016 and September 2016 and have not received any indication that an outcome to my claim is in progress or will be resolved. I have requested insurance contact details and these have not been provided. My e-mails remain unanswered. I have formally complained via P***** L******* College website and have not received a response to my complaint. From you I am claiming: 1) The cost of a replacement car door which was purchased second hand to reduce cost: £96 2) The fitting of the second hand car door by a body repair garage in P***** at a cost of £450 The total amount that I am therefore claiming is £546 . This sum being claimed is clearly detailed in quotes forwarded to you by e-mail on 28th March 2016 and in a final receipt for the car door repair once completed which was forwarded to you by e-mail on 28th April 2016 and also 12th August 2016. Listed below are the documents on which I intend to rely in my claim against you: 1) E-mails to P***** L******* College on the following dates: March 11th 2016, March 12th 2016, March 24th 2016, March 30th 2016, April 27th 2016, April 28th 2016, April 28th 2016, June 19th 2016, July 11th 2016, August 12th 2016, September 14th 2016 3) P***** L******* College Homestay Provider Guidelines 4) P***** L******* College Terms and Conditions – Insurance 5) P***** L******* College Complaints Form In accordance with the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct I would request that you provide me with copies of the following documents: 1) The contact details of your insurance company 2) Written evidence of all correspondence from you to the French Agency regarding this claim. 3) Written evidence of all correspondence from you to your insurance company regarding this claim. I can confirm that I would be agreeable to mediation and would consider any other system of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in order to avoid the need for this matter to be resolved by the courts. I would invite you to put forward any proposals in this regard. In closing, I would draw your attention to paragraphs 15 and 16 of the Practice Direction which gives the courts the power to impose sanctions on the parties if they fail to comply with the direction including failing to respond to this letter before claim. I look forward to hearing from you within the next 14 days. Should I not receive a response to my letter within this time frame then I anticipate that court action will be commenced with no further reference to you. Yours faithfully, Thank you.

I would only add:

Should I not receive a response to my letter within this time frame then I anticipate that court action will be commenced with no further reference to you. This will include additional costs and interest.

Does that clarify?

Jamie-Law and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. The letter has been posted. Can I come back to you if I need more advice if I don't get a response?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have received the following e-mail regarding this matter. Please can you advise further....what should I do now? I still need to know your view on pursuing this please. Thank you. Dear **** Many thanks for completing our complaints form and sending a letter regarding the above issue. Apologies for the delay in coming back to you, I have been away for quite long periods on business in Italy and Kazakhstan recently trying to recruit more students for our host families to host. As you know, we have not ceased to remind our agents in France of this matter, and I have also forwarded your recent letter to them. I have still to date not received a clear answer from them regarding this matter and so the situation remains unchanged. As I tried to explain when we discussed this in the front garden of the school during the summer, however, it is extremely difficult to substantiate an insurance claim of this type because the onus is squarely on the driver to ensure that doors are closed, much in the same way that the driver must ensure all passengers are wearing seatbelts. You told me you did not contact your motor insurers to notify them of this incident. Have you done so since? If so, what did they say? Our motor insurers are unequivocal on this, that the driver must check all doors are closed before moving off. Despite all this, I am in favour of continuing to pursue this matter with the agency in France up to a point, in the hope that something may be forthcoming. I do wonder how far it is worth pushing however given that the insurers seem very unlikely to take your view that the fault lies with the passengers. I have every sympathy however with your sense that compensation is deserved, and also with the frustration of not getting an answer, but we must be realistic as well. The types of claims we have successfully pursued involved incidents where the students were in fact at fault, such as causing burn markets on a carpet by leaving hair straighteners on it, or breaking a bed by jumping up and down. I am happy to meet with you to discuss this further, or attend any type of pre-court mediation if you feel it will help. I will be away in Asia from 19 to 26 October on another recruitment visit but I will be happy to meet with you at another time that is mutually acceptable. May I say N***, L**** and I continue to be extremely grateful to you for being a very good host family and we really do hope we can find an amicable and mutually acceptable outcome. Yours sincerely *** F*******

I would go to mediation......

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK. Please can you expand on that? Having never experienced anything like this, I need guidance!
How do I respond to the e-mail I received?
What notice do I need to give regarding tmediation and in what format - formal letter? E-mail?
What costs am I likely to incur if I go to mediation?
How do I find a mediator?
From the e-mail I received, what is your experience of any chance of successfully getting some of my car repair back?
Thank you.

Yes I would just email suggesting mediation. Its up to them to suggest it.

You can find Mediators online.

90% of mediations settle.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Please can you advise if the following is appropriate and fair? Dear ***, Thank you for your reply to my letter. I too am keen to reach an amicable and mutually acceptable outcome to this matter. I am also keen to avoid the additional costs and time required involving a mediator and court case unless this proves absolutely necessary in order to resolve the matter. I have already incurred costs seeking legal advice. I would therefore like to propose that we settle this between ourselves without any further delay. As you are aware the cost of the repair to my car was £546. I would be happy to accept £350 from you to settle the difference between us as long as this is agreed and paid to me within the next 7 days. If this is not acceptable to you then please also inform me within 7 days so that a mediator can be sought. If I do not hear from you within this time frame then I will continue with legal proceedings. Yours sincerely ***** *****

yes that is fine.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hello again. Following the above e-mail sent as a reply to the e-mail I received 8 days ago, I have heard nothing further from *** F******* or P***** L******* College. Please advise me on my next move. Do I still persure paying for mediation or should I assume that he does not wish to do this as he has not responded to my suggestion of paying £350 towards my car repairs? If so, do I go straight towards a court order? Thank you.

You can issue proceedings.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I have completed the documents via MoneyClaim on-line
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hello again, I have received the following reply from P***** College: Dear **** Thank you for your email. I have taken opinions on this unusual situation from our solicitors and insurers. They tend very much towards the view that the driver is at all times responsible for the safety of her or his passengers (more so if they are minors) and that ensuring all doors are closed is a fundamental check before moving off. It seems therefore there is not much prospect of ever being able to substantiate an insurance claim. In view of the upset this has caused, and considering that you are and continue to be an excellent host, we are willing however as a gesture of goodwill to offer £200. Let me know if you are willing to accept this as full and final settlement of this issue and I will ask Sarah to transfer the funds. Kind regards *** F******* PS I drafted the above during my trip to Thailand and intended to discuss it with my team in P***** before sending it, but Sarah has just forwarded your County Court claim. I feel it is a shame you were unable to wait for my return. I clearly informed you of the dates of this trip in my email of 15 October. In that email I expressed my willingness to meet with you with or without a mediator to see if an amicable solution could be reached. It is disappointing that you did not grant me this opportunity before initiating proceedings. Please advise regarding what you would advise I do next. I am not happy with his response. If I go back with a counter offer of £350 plus costs and he rejects it (as I suspect he will) what will happen next? Thank you.

Its up to you, to either accept or go to Court

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Just checking if you think this is OK as a response? Dear ***, Thank you for your e-mail. As I did not receive a reply from you to my e-mail dated 17th October, I have followed through the process that I outlined in it. I am still hopeful that we can settle this amicably, but unfortunately £200 is not an acceptable compromise for the damage that was caused to my car by one of your students. I would be grateful if you would re-think your settlement offer, particularly as costs are now being incurred. Yours sincerely ****

Yes that is ok

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Dear Jamie-Law, I would appreciate your advice on the following response I have received. I am really now needing some indication from you about whether this is worth persuing further. In your experience, what would you feel is the right approach now? Mediation will cost me more money and I have to question the potential benefit of continuing if it going to cost more money. £250 is not an acceptable amount of repayment - but it is better than nothing. I appreciate that it is difficult for you to say what the outcome will be but I wonder if you have some idea that would help me decide what to do next. Dear **** I am back in the UK now and so as promised I am happy to discuss this matter with you in person if you wish, with or without a mediator. The sum offered is reasonable given that the liability for this incident rests with yourself and not with the College or your French guest. You took it upon yourself to initiate legal proceedings without giving me a fair chance to respond. The maximum I can add to the 200 pounds is a further 50. This is in fact beyond what we can really afford but I am willing to go little bit further to reach a compromise. We are a small school and earn very little from our hosting operations, just a few hundred pounds per group. Let me know if we can now conclude this matter. Kind regards ***

As I said before if you are not happy you can issue proceedings.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have already issued proceedings. My question is how far to go with mediation. So far we have been communicating by e-mail but do I need to seek formal mediation before this goes any further towards court? I am concerned at the additional costs this will incur that I presumably will have to pay.

Totally up to you. It's a personal decision how much the and money you invest in this.