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Employee damaged vehicle and quit - help please!!


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Good morning,

 

One of my friend has had an issue with an employee, the situation is below - just wondering if there is anything that can be done, or if we can be pointed in the right direction for help? (The situation is written from my friend, so in the first person)

 

Basically a guy worked for me On the Saturday I used my vehicle and left it at my unit all in tact. On the Monday he used it to do deliveries, he was the only user that day. That evening he txt me to say he quit, so I accepted that. At 4 am the next day I loaded my van and set off to do my deliveries I got 6 miles down the road and all the electrics failed I nursed it back to my unit and left it.I used my car to do my deliveries. My mechanic looked at it the same day and found that the alternator had been filled with water and effectively boiled itself to death as a result of, in his opinion someone driving through deep water.!! As my ex driver was the only driver of this vehicle on that day I am looking to take him to county court for the cost of repairs and hiring of a vehicle.To date the vehicle has not been used because the damage is such that a new electric loom has to be specially made.I am claiming for the cost of repair approx £470 plus £150 for hiring a vehicle and fair wear and tare on my private car.

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It is going to be a question of evidence - and it all sounds a bit speculative from what you say.

 

There may be very good grounds for assuming that it was the ex-employee who caused the damage but a court may want better proof.

I would start off by writing to the guy and simply asking him why he drove through deep water as the car is now unusable. Maybe he will incriminate himself in his reply - if he does.

If he doesn't reply - or if he simply denies it then I'm not sure that you have a good enough case to proceed.

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Thanks BankFodder, you're a star.

 

The driver clocked in that morning and when he left. My friend's daughter and customers have confirmed he was the driver as well. There is a mechanic's report to confirm it's water damage and could only have been driven a few miles before the alternator boiled to death.

 

He is the only driver my friend had at the time. The guy quit that night.

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"My mechanic looked at it the same day and found that the alternator had been filled with water and effectively boiled itself to death as a result of, in his opinion someone driving through deep water.!!"

 

His Mechanic................... and in His Mechanic's opinion. That would come across as a very one sided opinion. Even if that opinion was accepted, with the weather that the whole country has suffered recently could it not be realistically accepted that in the course of a day's driving the van would have been subject to conditions that could replicate the van having been driven through deep water ?

The van had also been left overnight, was this unattended ? If so, can it be proven that a person unknown could not have perhaps tampered with the van and caused the situation ?

Is there deep water in the near vicinity of the Unit ? Because the driver must of had to drive from where ever this perceived deep water is without the van suffering the damaging fault that had occured after 6 miles of the owner driving the van.

Truthfully there is little if any proof of the driver who has handed in his notice being at fault or being the cause of the damage to the van.

Work vehicles, indeed any vehicle can develop an electrical fault in an instant. It is infuriating, it is inconvenient and it can be expensive when it happens but the cause could have all sorts of contributing factors. Unless the van had been undriveable or had suffered problems prior to the outset of the journey then it has to be accepted as a breakdown whilst in the care of / being driven by whoever is in the driving seat at the time of the vehicle failure.

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Does his contract of employment make him liable for damage to company vehicles?

 

There was only a verbal contract in which the driver agreed that any damage or speeding fines incurred while he was driving he would be liable for. He did get a speeding ticket for the van and decided to go on a speed awareness course.

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"My mechanic looked at it the same day and found that the alternator had been filled with water and effectively boiled itself to death as a result of, in his opinion someone driving through deep water.!!"

 

His Mechanic................... and in His Mechanic's opinion. That would come across as a very one sided opinion. Even if that opinion was accepted, with the weather that the whole country has suffered recently could it not be realistically accepted that in the course of a day's driving the van would have been subject to conditions that could replicate the van having been driven through deep water ?

The van had also been left overnight, was this unattended ? If so, can it be proven that a person unknown could not have perhaps tampered with the van and caused the situation ?

Is there deep water in the near vicinity of the Unit ? Because the driver must of had to drive from where ever this perceived deep water is without the van suffering the damaging fault that had occured after 6 miles of the owner driving the van.

Truthfully there is little if any proof of the driver who has handed in his notice being at fault or being the cause of the damage to the van.

Work vehicles, indeed any vehicle can develop an electrical fault in an instant. It is infuriating, it is inconvenient and it can be expensive when it happens but the cause could have all sorts of contributing factors. Unless the van had been undriveable or had suffered problems prior to the outset of the journey then it has to be accepted as a breakdown whilst in the care of / being driven by whoever is in the driving seat at the time of the vehicle failure.

 

All extremely good points, and I will find out if there is any other proof.

Disclaimer: Anything I write in these forums is my personal opinion and offered without prejudice. If in doubt, please seek independent legal advice.

 

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Hi Un1boy it would be a good idea to check those points out with your friend. I am not saying that the driver who handed in his notice hasn't caused the problem, but if your friend were to start a court action against the driver I think he would find it very difficult to actually prove anything. Your friend is reacting to anger and assumption neither of which will go down well in a court room and of course if he fails to prove the driver is responsible then he will be left with all the costs and perhaps a compensation claim from the driver for having been taken to court.

This could work out a lot, lot more than the cost of the van repairs, I don't like to pay for something I don't think I am responsible for but if I were in this position I would try to cool down, look at the facts in the cold light of day and take it as an expensive lesson.

He could be lucky in court but in my opinion (and it is only my opinion) that would be highly unlikely. Maybe someone else will be able to give some advice to the contrary but I doubt it.

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I agree with most of the points above. Most of the agreements and contracts appear to be verbal and a lot of it sounds rather dubious.

 

If the ex-employee was allowed to drive the car then surely there would be some sort of insurance to cover such damage, as pointed out..the recent horrible weather means that many vehechiles may have water damage, it doesnt automatically mean that the ex-employee is liable.

 

In a court you would have to prove that the ex-employee is liable and provide good evidence and I wouldnt rate your chances too high.

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Agree with above post, you would need to show that driver instructed NOT to do things as well as what they were instructed/contracted to do. Driving through a big puddle at speed would knacker things as much as driving through deep water. I would look at your insurance carefully first and then decide if you would be better off just paying the garage and having an end to the matter.

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Guys, sorry I've been a bit absence last few days.

 

I will give the response I received a little later, I hope you are all well.

Disclaimer: Anything I write in these forums is my personal opinion and offered without prejudice. If in doubt, please seek independent legal advice.

 

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Hi Un1boy it would be a good idea to check those points out with your friend. I am not saying that the driver who handed in his notice hasn't caused the problem, but if your friend were to start a court action against the driver I think he would find it very difficult to actually prove anything. Your friend is reacting to anger and assumption neither of which will go down well in a court room and of course if he fails to prove the driver is responsible then he will be left with all the costs and perhaps a compensation claim from the driver for having been taken to court.

This could work out a lot, lot more than the cost of the van repairs, I don't like to pay for something I don't think I am responsible for but if I were in this position I would try to cool down, look at the facts in the cold light of day and take it as an expensive lesson.

He could be lucky in court but in my opinion (and it is only my opinion) that would be highly unlikely. Maybe someone else will be able to give some advice to the contrary but I doubt it.

 

I believe there was a verbal agreement that the emplyee would cover any damage and speeding fines he received whilst in the vehicle. He did receive a spedding fine and opted for a course instead of receiving points.

Disclaimer: Anything I write in these forums is my personal opinion and offered without prejudice. If in doubt, please seek independent legal advice.

 

*If what I have told you in this post has helped, please press the star at the bottom left and tell me!!*

 

My charges claims:

un1boy vs egg *SETTLED* | Un1boy vs LTSB-SETTLED | un1boy vs Black Horse-SETTLED | Un1boy v Smile *WON* | un1boy v HSBC - SETTLED! | Un1boy's HSBC CC - SETTLED! | Un1boy vs Co-Op *SETTLED* |un1boy vs Co-Op CC *SETTLED*

 

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I agree with most of the points above. Most of the agreements and contracts appear to be verbal and a lot of it sounds rather dubious.

 

If the ex-employee was allowed to drive the car then surely there would be some sort of insurance to cover such damage, as pointed out..the recent horrible weather means that many vehechiles may have water damage, it doesnt automatically mean that the ex-employee is liable.

 

In a court you would have to prove that the ex-employee is liable and provide good evidence and I wouldnt rate your chances too high.

 

Thanks Andy. I've invited my friend to take a look at this thread, in case there is anything else he wants to add.

Disclaimer: Anything I write in these forums is my personal opinion and offered without prejudice. If in doubt, please seek independent legal advice.

 

*If what I have told you in this post has helped, please press the star at the bottom left and tell me!!*

 

My charges claims:

un1boy vs egg *SETTLED* | Un1boy vs LTSB-SETTLED | un1boy vs Black Horse-SETTLED | Un1boy v Smile *WON* | un1boy v HSBC - SETTLED! | Un1boy's HSBC CC - SETTLED! | Un1boy vs Co-Op *SETTLED* |un1boy vs Co-Op CC *SETTLED*

 

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Garage should have "Employers liability insurance" and possibly a motor trade policy.

 

 

Cheers Scania, which garage do you mean though?!

Disclaimer: Anything I write in these forums is my personal opinion and offered without prejudice. If in doubt, please seek independent legal advice.

 

*If what I have told you in this post has helped, please press the star at the bottom left and tell me!!*

 

My charges claims:

un1boy vs egg *SETTLED* | Un1boy vs LTSB-SETTLED | un1boy vs Black Horse-SETTLED | Un1boy v Smile *WON* | un1boy v HSBC - SETTLED! | Un1boy's HSBC CC - SETTLED! | Un1boy vs Co-Op *SETTLED* |un1boy vs Co-Op CC *SETTLED*

 

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