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Hi all,

A friend of mine bought a fast food takeaway shop and became the owner outright on 1/10/2007. before that date he had no involvement in the running of the shop.

Recently he has had a letter from a firm of solicitors stating that they are representing someone who slipped on the floor of the shop on 22/07/2006 and that they intend to commence legal proceedings against him.

Common sense dictates that we send a letter telling them to go to hell and find the previous owner, but before we do this, I thought I would seek advise here just in case there are some ridiculous reasons as to why he could be liable under the some crazy law of this country.

 

So does anyone have any advise as to this situation? Does anyone know of any laws that may protect the Claimant, or indeed, any Laws that protect the owner?

 

Many thanks all.

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id fire off a letter to the solicitors stating that you have no knowledge or liability for this accident as the shop was purchased from the previous owner on whatever date.

 

something like this should suffice..

 

 

Dear sir or madam.

 

I am in reciept of your letter dated (date), in which you state that you intend to being litigation against me for an accident which occured on (date).

Please note that at that time I was not the proprioter of this establishment, I took over the shop on (date), which i have full documentation etc.

 

Therefore I am not liable for any incidents which occured before this date.

 

(then choose one of the following statments)

......The previous proprioter (name), left the forwarding address of (address if you have it)......

 

.....I do not have any contact details for (name), the previous proprioter of this establishment, but if I do have any contact with them in the future at all I will pass on your details and ask them to contact you.....

 

Yours sincerely

(your name)

 

 

amend to suit, then send off by recorded delivery.

 

sending it by recorded means oyu will get proof that they have recieved it, so if they try and start anything in future they cant deny they got it.

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the important thing is making sure you DONT admit any liability for the incident, in any way, that way if they instead decide to continue pursuing you regardless then they will have to prove that you are liable for it, and that you were the proprioter at the time.

 

Obviously you will have documentation from the sale of the business giving clear dates etc when the change over occured. You shouldnt really have to produce this but if they start being funny about it you can easilly shut them up.

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Again thanks for the advise, but neither of us are stupid enough to admit any type of liability.

More like we will offer nothing (even the owners name at the time of this allegation) and let the solicitors waste as much money as possible chasing a lost cause

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With all paperwork in order, it would be easy enough for your friend to prove it had nothing to do with him. It wouldnt really benefit anyone letting the powers that be chase around for months for nothing, and it would add closure for your friend to the end of the matter.

Please note that although my advice is offered, you should consult your legal representative before taking ANY action.

 

 

have a nice day !!

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one thing you might get is people coming and asking for information about the shop itself, or people wanting to take photographs. make sure that if they wish to do this they make an appointment in writing first before attempting this.

also make sure that if any refurbushment of the shop has taken place since it was taken over, they are notified of this, as some claims firms are notorious for making things up or taking photos of things a a certain angle which makes them appear to be dangerous or something. obviously the shop will have been visited by environmental health and/or someone fro the HSE in order for it to keep trading as a food shop.

i used to work for a solicitors which handled claims for various things, personal injury was one of the things they handed, and as a claim administrator i used to make sure files were kept up to date, timescales were adhered to etc.

 

some of the claims i saw were quite obviously frivolous ones, which i would send back to the assesors for a second opnion when things didnt add up, before letters got sent out.

things that didnt add up were things like pictures taken at funny angles or which were blurred or didnt show what they were supposed to, files which contained contradicting statements by the claimant and witnesses, or claims which were missing vital info so unbelieveable theyd need furthur clarification.

 

one such claim stated that the claimant had said they had fallen over inside a takeawy, due to the floor being slippery, but the pictures that were included in the file showed that the floor of the shop was carpeted. turned out that the claimant had fallen over outside on the pavement, and it was nothing to do with the take away its self. more than likely the claimant had been drinking (the incident took place in the early hours of the morning, at a takeaway/restaurant 3 doors down from a night club), andhad simply fallen over their own feet or something, either way,the claim was quietly dropped.

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