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johnjordan

Damage caused by careless tree surgery - ** RESOLVED **

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I recently employed a company to reduce the size of my trees.

 

Unfortunately they also caused quite a bit of damage, smashing a caravan window, putting a dent in my garage door and smashing my neighbours fence, not once but twice. I believe the damage was caused by them trying to cut down trunks in one go instead of doing it in two cuts and they were too large to control when they fell.

 

It is now six weeks since the damage and I am just getting the excuse that they are waiting for their insurance company to reply. Last Friday I send the owner an email giving him seven days to come up with a satisfactory solution otherwise I would start a small claims court action. I am now worried that an email doesn't carry any legal weight and I should have sent a signed for letter.

 

I would really welcome your advice.

 

Thank you.

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A couple of Q's before BF comes back. Can you tell us :-

 

1. Do you have dated photos of the damage caused.

 

2. Do you have estimates for repairing the caravan window, garage door and neighbour's fence panels.


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No, I dont have any photographs sadly.

The estimated cost will be in the region of £700 although its doubtful I can get a new window as the caravan is a late 1970's model.

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Take photos asap even though it's very late

 

Do you have estimates/quotes for the garage door (if it can be repaired)  and for the fence.

 

The caravan window can be replaced with either 3mm or 4mm tempered safety glass. If you can't get it from an Auto or Caravan glass supplier, a local glass Co. can get it made and fitted - it shouldn't be a problem.


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I have taken photos now. The man that caused the damage has admitted the window and fence via Messenger but I didn't notice the garage door for a few days after. It has a dent in it so cant be repaired. His boss has been and taken his own photos.

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Save the Messenger msgs on another format so you can print if needed.

 

Is the garage door badly damaged. How old is it. Can it be repainted if necessary to leave in an acceptable condition.

 

The boss is unlikely to be helpful to your cause. Him saying he's waiting for the insurer to get back to him is probably nonsense - more likely, he's hoping you'll get bored and go away !!

 

The issue of whether they tried to cut down the tree in smaller or larger sections is irrelevant. As "experts", they had a duty of care to ensure they cut and lowered the boughs, trunk, etc in such a way as to cause NO damage.


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I'm sorry to say that taking photographs of this kind of damage should be the first thing that you do and of course with mobile telephones, it is extremely easy. It's a shame that you didn't do it immediately and make that part of your damage report. I'm afraid that by waiting to gather this kind of evidence, you invite suspicion from companies such as insurers who are extremely used to being ripped off. I don't think you have helped yourself.

However, you have here a situation where problem has been caused by a business. The business has an insurance so they load it all onto the shoulders of the insurer. The insurer can't be bothered to get things done quickly and the company prefers to nurture the culture that the problem you have is a problem with the insurer not with them.
This is wrong.

It is the company which has caused the damage and it is the company which is directly responsible to you. The insurer has no responsibility to you. The insurer has a responsibility to the company. It's very important that you realise this and it is also important that you should not be waiting at the beck and call of the insurer who doesn't really care and who make their money by not paying out, not by paying out.

You need to bring some focus onto this. That means that you concentrate on the company. You make it clear to the company that you have no interest in the insurer and that their relationship with the insurer is a matter for them.

It's about time that you made a full list of all the damage accompanied by any photographic evidence – even if the photographs are taken rather late in the day. Be ready to be faced with suspicions by the company and also by the insurer that you are simply looking around to add things that were already damaged before the tree cutting episode took place.

You need to be very careful about putting together your list. Be meticulous and don't miss anything – because I think that if you produce a list and then start adding further items later on, you will just make life much harder for yourself.

 

Once you have assembled the list, you will probably need to get two independent inspections and quotations for the repairs. If this means that garage door needs to be replaced – so be it. However your independent quotations will need to have an assessment of the garage door and will need to explain why it can't be repaired and must be replaced.

Get everything properly itemised.

It is highly likely that these quotations will incur some kind of fee. When you eventually succeed in your claim then this money will be recoverable.

Before you commissiod the inspections, email the company and tell them what you are doing. Warn them that it is likely that these quotations will incur expenses and that you will be looking to them to reimburse you. You can invite the company to carry out their inspection if they want. You will need to email them also a full list of the damage that you have discovered – together with photographs.

Put the first inspection in hand. Make sure that it is done by a competent professional and that everything is fully detailed in writing and priced up item by item. When you have received a quotation, send it to the company. Of course the company will try to keep deflecting you onto the insurer. Have nothing to do with the insurer. Your contract is with the company. You have no legal relationship with the insurer and you have no legal duty to involve the insurer.

When you send the first quote to the company tell them that you are giving them seven days to comment and that if they disagree with the quote that you are putting in hand a second inspection of the damage to get a comparative quote. Once again invite them to come along and carry out their inspection.

Once your two inspections are completed and you have the quotes, come back here.

The overall strategy here is to put pressure on the company. Focus on them and make them realise that you are going to be assertive about this matter and you are going to put pressure on them and if necessary it will be they who will be taken to a county court to pay the compensation to you.

The company of course won't be happy about this – but it will be up to them to start putting pressure on their insurer. You may well get letters from the insurer telling you not to contact the company any more but to contact them, the insurer, directly. Ignore this. The company are the ones who should be doing the dirty work and enforcing the insurer to move themselves – not you.


 


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By the way, exactly the same attitude with the caravan. If the window the caravan can't be replaced because of the unique character of the caravan – such as its age – then you will need to get someone to assess the right of value of it as that may be more economical than replacing the window.

Of course you could possibly spend some time looking to the Internet and see if somebody has some old caravan of the same make and model but in an unusable state but with serviceable windows.


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**UPDATE**

 

After taking the advice given on this forum I eventually issued a small claims summons after receiving no satisfaction from the company in question.

 

I am pleased to report that today I received a message from the court that the claim had been admitted in full and payment due to me by 26 May.

 

Thank you so much for your excellent advice.

  • Thanks 1

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Bravo. And thank you for keeping us updated.

It's quite an unexpected outcome because normally when you take companies to court like this, either they don't respond at all and then there's a problem of enforcement – or they start to cause you difficulties and to delay matters.

I have to say that although you had difficulties with this company to begin with – it sounds to me as if they have suddenly decided to act correctly so bravo to them as well. Of course it's a bit of a shame that they let it go this way because not only have they incurred costs that they will have damaged their reputation amongst those people who know who they are. For that reason, we won't ask you to identify them – we normally would.

What was the value of the claim?

Also, congratulations to you for taking this action and asserting yourself. I'm sure it was a valuable learning curve and it will give you confidence dealing with other companies who run across you in the future.

And finally, if you think we have helped – then there are some donation buttons all over the place!  🙂


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Hi BF,

 

Yes, it was a shame it had to go this far. I actually had a message from one of the partners a few weeks ago asking me if I had been told a new garage door would be delivered the following week, but of course it never did. I now have to wait to see if they actually pay up.

 

The value of the claim was £916 but with prices going up I will probably be out of pocket slightly, but that's better than not getting anything at all. Hopefully I'll be able to cover the small loss by selling the old door for a few pounds.

 

As soon as my pay check comes in at the end of the month rest assured I will make a donation. Sadly it won't be much in these times but hopefully every little helps.

 

Thank you again.

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Well if the money doesn't appear then please let us know and also you can name and shame.

In terms of the donation, we are grateful to receive anything – but if it leaves you out of pocket then don't. We can survive.


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Hi

 

well done on getting some resolution to your issue now it does not stop you doing the following:

 

What the company you employed seems to have forgotten although they have admitted the damage is that it was also a Health & Safety issue.

 

Does the tree surgeons website have their Health & Safety Policy?
(if it does either download it or save it somehow i.e an image, pdf then take your time to read it and think to yourself with what has happened 'did they do that' if not mark it to use against them, also let the councils health & safety/enviromental health know for advice who to report the health & safety matter to)

 

Does their website display any certifications?
(if so check the certification on the actual website they are certified and check they are an actual member and if so the Code of Conduct they should follow and their complaints procedure then if it lets you complain to them)

 

couple of links of interest:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/treework/

 

https://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/concerns.htm

 


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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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Further and final update:

 

Received payment today in full for the claim. It should have been in my bank yesterday so I sent an email this morning giving them until the end of today to pay or I would issue a County Court summons, which I was quite prepared to do.

 

Once again, thank you for your assistance. I will be making a small donation tomorrow, pay day :-).

  • Thanks 1

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That's great news, well done. :)  I'll amend your thread title to show the result.

 

Thank you for the donation, it will help us to keep advising people like yourself.

 

HB

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Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Yes, a big thank you.

Very grateful to receive a donation – don't leave yourself short.

And once again I want to repeat the message that it seems to me that by and large you've been dealing with a pretty decent company – although maybe slightly poor judgement for them to let it get this far


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