Caused $1,000’s of damage to property. My fault. How do I explain this to insurance company?

by swm43. Posted on Sep 13, 2020    161    128


Customer called me. Told me they were going after the money due to the extensiveness of the damage.

Edit to explain what happened:

Customer wanted pavers sealed. I start cleaning pavers and realize an old sealant is on pavers. Therefore that old sealer needs to be stripped off. I apply stripper and the stripping agent/chemical splashed onto areas that weren’t supposed to be stripped... it took paint off screen enclosure beams (the metal beams), and supposedly damaged the pavers (which were already more than halfway fucked up when I got there). Supposedly his 7 ft tall plant is dying now too...


Comments

Spuds1968

Some states have no fault insurance. Exchange insurance information. Tell the other person to report it to their insurance. Report it honestly to your insurance company. You pay them to know the law and help you navigate the situation.

Cautious-Rub 1

That applies to vehicles. Not general liability for business.

PrimaryWarning

This sounds exactly what liability insurance is for. They'll pay for it but will definitely raise your rates or drop you and it'll be hard to get another policy or very expensive. Insurance is designed not to be used unless emergency.

  swm43

So essentially ill be black listed?

dirtyoldbastard77 1

Dude, how much do you pay them each month, and how often does these kinds of things happen? They will make money off you in the long run, so they will probably want to keep you as a customer. I mean, you probably wont do this mistake again, right? They also know that, and if they have to pay out more right now than you have paid them, the only way they can make that money back is to keep you as a paying customer.

But do as that other guy mentioned, check the damage first yourself and have someone give you a quote on it. Then see if its something you might be able to pay yourself, or if you have to use your insurance (keeping in mind that your premium probably will increase if you have to use it, so it might be cheaper to pay it yourself if you can)

PrimaryWarning 1

No but the reason a $1,000,000 policy is only $500/yr. Once you have a claim it goes up depending on how much and why. Also every policy asks if you've ever had a claim for this reason. If the damage is just a few grand it would be much better to pay yourself.

Liability insurance is more for emergencies. Its better to lose your business than be on the hook for millions of damages.

briankwest 6

No that’s why you have insurance! You do have business liability insurance?

PrimaryWarning 1

Untrue. Liability insurance is a last resort emergency policy. Otherwise why have auto insurance or any other coverages? Liability insurance is so cheap because it protects you incase major issue then they'll skyrocket your policy or prevent you from ever getting any policy again.

nora045

First of all never admit that you made the mistake.

You tell the insurance company what happened and really let them decide what to do and let hem decide who is at failt.

The reason why you never have to admit your mistake is because:

I once had a car accident. I went left and apperently a bike was suddenly on the other road.

AT FIRST i was at shock and being like omg sorry its my fault. said that to my insurance company etc.

BUT LATER: i was thinking how can i have not seen him at that moment? And began thinking about it and he actually was speeding.

Since i said it was my fault my insurance company ha to pay for it and my premium got raised abit. Since then i have learned to never admit your at fault and let thd insurance company deal with it, i mean its also their job so yeah.

Hope this helps~

Appygirl58 5


>The reason why you never have to admit your mistake is because:
I once had a car accident. I went left and apperently a bike was suddenly on the other road.
AT FIRST i was at shock and being like omg sorry its my fault. said that to my insurance company etc.
BUT LATER: i was thinking how can i have not seen him at that moment? And began thinking about it and he actually was speeding.
Since i said it was my fault my insurance company ha to pay for it and my premium got raised abit. Since then i have learned to never admit your at fault and let thd insurance company deal with it, i mean its also their job so yeah.

I hate to tell you that no insurance company makes their liability decision based solely on their insureds admission of guilt. It's only a very small part of the investigation. In fact that admission carries much less weight than you think.

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hammtron 2

Found Ivan and Igor General Contracting

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shittyCEO 13

Don't ever take your customers word for things like damage. Keep it honest and get multiple reputable people to quote the repair. Don't get the cheapest quote because you already fucked up don't go 0/2.

My guys have flooded a handful of floors and its always "This is gonna cost $10k to repair" and I send my team over there to fix it in a day for <$1k in labor. Or I send another company to do the work and its significantly less than what the customer told me.

  swm43 2

So do i just tell the customer im going to get my own quotes for said damages done? Its obvious that were not “friends”, they want to basically sue me.

The pavers were already halfway fucked up when i got there. So now they want basically brand new pavers i bet

OmerShah0 3

Just keep your goals in mind; your goal right now should be:

​

  1. Repair the damage to the customers property
  2. Make the customer feel like you're a decent honest guy who just messed up and is willing to fix it

    Don't be combative etc. Just tell them you want to make it right; you have insurance; if they have a quote already for repairs then great take a look at that -- if they don't have a quote then they should get one. You can send a company you want doing the repairs to get a quote as well but honestly most quotes from third parties will land pretty close -- remember those tradesmen are competing for business too.
I_Do_Well 12

Your insurance company will provide an adjuster to assess the cost of repair. It's their money, they'll assess. They do this all the time.

pavlovslog 1

Life pro tip for anyone in OPs spot. My father is a general contractor and before he’d do any sort of remodel/improvement work that wasn’t from foundations up (new home), he’d walk the whole area around the work plus extra beyond what could be impacted with a video camera making note of any wall dent, paint scrape, dead grass, whatever. He’d mark the date, the time, etc (watch and newspaper is a good one to prove it) and just narrate everything he’d seen and make a list out of it and have the client sign off before work began.
Many many times that video saved his ass. Sometimes it wasn’t malicious. People tend to go over new work after it’s done w a fine tooth comb and see old damages w new eyes and think it was him even when he had it on the list. Other times (sadly more than half) it was someone trying to get over on him for money or services. It’s not a bad idea to do it again when the job is done just incase they try to claim something was omitted etc.

And to the point of them wanting to use their contractor, that’s a big no until you’ve seen it all and been given a chance to remedy that. If it’s not in your contract at the moment I’d talk to a lawyer and add that plus whatever else ASAP.

Quiet_I_Am 1

Bust that meme with that monkey/bear plushie/doll where he looks at the scren then steight ahead

Chem_6a 1

First off - take a deep breath. You will get through this. Keep working hard and this will just be a good lesson you’ve learned to help protect you in future situations.

Secondly, are you registered with the landscape contractor’s board? (Not sure which state, or country, you are in). If so, they have arbitrators who will bridge the gap between you and this customer. This is the best way to go. If you are unlicensed, doing the work that you should have a license for, the I’m not quite sure. If that is the case, then try to get past this and then pursue licensure. It will greatly benefit you down the road.

stevegonzales1975 1

Something is off. How the heck does stripping agent caught that much damage? Can you just wash them off and repaint?

Peterd90 1

Tell the truth even if cryptic.

Cautious-Rub 1

Go get your policy and read the declarations page. More than likely it is covered because that’s what GL insurance is for.

Call the agent that wrote your policy and explain the situation. They can explain your policy coverages and guide you through the best approach, whether it’s to try and pay for repairs yourself or to file a claim. They will step by step tell you what you need to do and help you decide if you need to file a claim. Once you get others involved, it will sift out the people that want to shake you down for cash. It’s important to note that your agent doesn’t really want you to file a claim either because it does count against us and whether or not a company will continue to let that agent to write policies for them. So they really won’t tell you to file a claim unless it is truly advisable. (I.e if the cost of damage is close to your deductible, they probably will tell you not to file one).

I wrote commercial insurance for a few years and as long as you didn’t maim, kill, or burn down a structure, you likely won’t get dropped. Your rates will probably go up a small percentage but that’s it. Word to the wise, try and stick with that company for a few renewals until that claim is further in the past. Even if those things (big huge losses) did occur, or you were involved in a high risk profession, there is surplus insurance for coverage (it’s expensive as hell, but it does exist).

jbscanada 1

Completely off topic but I do sealcoating as well...what product did you apply that caused you this much headache?

  swm43 1

It was by cobble loc. I rinsed the fuck out of everything. Still... i saw the damage it had done on the aluminum screen enclosure. It splashed onto it.

jbscanada 1

Jesus. Sorry to hear man.

  swm43 2

Ya im sad as fuck. And pissed the fuck off. Im really fucking pissed.

mbreezy40 1

That squirrel story was a good one, never heard it before.

jhnnycsh 1

Dustless blasting? Hire someone to remove the chemical easy peasy

  swm43 1

It took the paint off the metal beams where the stripped splashed onto. Also HO is claiming it splashed on walls (didn’t see this). He is also claiming the pavers are fucked too. Which they already were halfway when I arrived... i mean i was there to fix them.

jhnnycsh 4

Right so continue to remove the paint and repaint. It will be much cheaper. In terms of the pavers can you not fix them given another attempt? Mistakes happen in business keeping a calm head will help here. Talk to the owner. Ask him how you can help. If they are unrealistic in demands then allow them to proceed with your insurance company. However most folks just want things right I’ve learned.

mechanical_madman 1

This might be a better question for an insurance subreddit.

kendogg 1

Ya it's really gonna depend on what type of business you are, and what type of insurance you have. Need some details here bub.

jonskiiii 2

Go out. Re paint the metal. Fix the pavers and rectify the problem. They’re not going to take you to small claims court. Nobody has that time. They’re bluffing and just want some money. Maybe for u to finish the job for free

ms52737 2

If you can’t pay out of pocket, then The HO should file a claim under his policy. His Carrier will determine if they want to subrogate the claim by going for a reimbursement under your policy .
The HO will have to pay the deductible ( or you ).
If the claim gets full subrogate - the deductible could actually be reimbursed to the HO.
Never really seen that happen though, one side always settles for less than 100%, as it’s cheaper to settle than to involve their in house legal team

amandasapanda 3

Dude, stop spectating and worrying yourself about what you don’t know. Just call your insurance company and tell them the story and get actual facts. No one on reddit can give you that information that they can. One of my technicians accidentally destroyed a Manhattan buildings elevator car brass doors a few years back. I worried myself sick over it. Finally called the insurance company and they covered it for me- about 20k. I only paid a deductible. Call them.

pale2hall 1

Speculating?

mountain_marmot95 3

Just a little advice from a fellow contractor: take tons of pictures/video of your site before; during, and after completion of a project. My crews all have a database that they upload videos to daily and it’s saved me tens-of-thousands of dollars.

AnnaGlypta 9

You said this could cost $3-5k to repair. That's a big amount for you, but not for the insurance company. In my experience with contractors, mistakes usually cost much, much more to repair.

This shouldn't be a big deal.

HowdyHoYo 3

Except for higher insurance rates in future

Isabela_Grace 1

insurance companies never lose money they always get it somehow

Hypo_Mix 7

Solvents will kill leaves but it's not likely to kill a plant, I would give the plant some time to recover to see if it is actually dying.

  swm43 3

Thats what i thought honestly. I think he just wants a new plant while hes at it

Hypo_Mix 3

Just thought I would throw that in there but if it's a cheap tree it's probably not worth the hassle and give them a nursery voucher if you value your time.

medicinal_alex 7

Seems like a description of the situation would be appropriate. Maybe with some details.

always_creative 16

Just call your insurer. Tell them that adjacent property was damaged on one of your worksites due to unexpected damage from a cleaning product. Don't admit fault, just ask them how their coverage works in this situation. If it's covered they'll handle their side of it.

FreeGFabs 19

Not enough info.

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wtysonc 6

Damn homie, what kind of product did you use that caused such extensive damage to pavers? I think you can at least take a couple of lessons from this experience: insurance is important and we should always test chemicals on inconspicuous places before applying it robustly

FreeGFabs 7

I once had a bad batch of sealer that we applied to a 4K square foot driveway. Shit happens but we have insurance for a reason.

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agcoustic 3

General insurance won't cover defect of construction but they will likely cover an "occurrence" where something got splashed/spilled.


I'm in the construction space, too. Shit happens despite your best efforts. One time we had a hydraulic hose start to leak without us noticing for the 15 times we drove the equipment up and down a paver driveway. We dripped oil allllll up and down for about 600 feet. Luckily we got it cleaned after a week but damn it sucked.

FreeGFabs 20

If you have insurance do not worry. This is why you have it. Put them in contact with your agent and let them deal with it.

You will have to talk with the ins co just be honest and tell them what happened. Stick to details not feelings. Maybe make a bullet list of talking points.

Date of work
What job was
What happened
Why did it happen
What was damaged

Should be enough.

  swm43 3

Im afraid my insurance company wont cover it for whatever reason.

codenamejeff 2

What kind of insurance do you have?

  swm43 1

General liability...

RetrieverTrainer 4

20+ year contractor here. Bite the bullet. Pay someone of the homeowner’s selection, to repair the damage. You can try making a claim on your GL but who knows if they will pay. If you repair damage things could get worse. If you hire someone to fix it, that may not work out either. Shit happens.

codenamejeff 7

It's very likely your policy covers Property Damage. You should give your insurance company a call.

rossmosh85 9

It's more likely they will cover the claim and then either hike your rates or drop you afterwards.

OmerShah0 3

Drop you afterwards is the usual scenario. I did a side small business with super cars and all the insurance was basically written with the understanding that you would never actually make a claim. If you made a claim they would drop you and then other insurers would refuse to take you thereby ending your venture.

  swm43 2

Seriously..? So this could possibly mean the end to my business unless I pony up the big bucks out of pocket to get this fixed???

FreeGFabs 1

no you just go to another insurance company and pay a higher rate.

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from the ins co point of view they can never get the money for the claim back out of you depending on the size of the claim. You also made a claim so are likely in their eyes to have another costly claim.

​

Their goal is to have as many people buy their product and never use it. they dont want customers who actually use the service they provide. Its a weird business model.

OmerShah0 3

It was like that with supercars but in your case I assume lots of these kinds of things happen in any given day. Chemicals and stuff probably go wrong enough that the insurance companies are assuming some level of claims payments.

The super car insurance industry is just an extreme example of insurers dropping people.

I_Do_Well 30

Worst they can do is deny the claim. What repercussions are you worried about? There's three possibilities:

  1. You pay the damage out-of-pocket.
  2. Your insurance denies the claim and you pay the damage out-of-pocket.
  3. Your insurance pays the claim and you're only out the deductible.

    You want the third one. I can promise you it won't happen if you never file a claim. Unless this is some bizarre, shady policy, most liability insurance covers accidents, including ones you are at fault for. What it probably doesn't cover is intentional damage, which isn't what happened. I think you're overthinking this.
jerseymeathook 2

Liability policies shouldn't have deductibles. Especially for Small Businesses.

hammtron 10

The voice of reason.

brain_gotta_poop 2

Reason will prevail!

FreeGFabs 29

I understand. They will though. It was damaged cause while you were working. Thats what liability insurance is for.

Argad91 95

Just make an insurance claim the same way as usual or pay the customer directly.

Am I missing something?

prairie_oyster_ 7

Don’t pay the customer directly. File a claim with your business liability insurance company.

There are usually terms in your insurance contract that precludes you attempting to settle or otherwise resolve a dispute that the insurance applies to. They do this because they could become bound to an agreement you enter into with the client, and that agreement may not be in your best interest.

For example, you could pay them off, then they come up with something else they need to be paid for... and something else... you’d be amazed what people can come up with when they have the opportunity to get their hands on some money.

Give it to your insurance company and be honest with them. You purchase business liability insurance to accomplish two things, defense and indemnity.

  1. They will protect you from the customer and their claims. This means hiring a lawyer on your behalf. It means resolving this dispute so it goes away completely. Defense like this can get pretty expensive.

  2. They are contractually bound to pay what is necessary to make this go away and get your company legally released from any additional claims the customer may attempt to make. The payment they make to the customer to fix your fuck up is indemnity, and again it can be a ton of money.

    File your claim with your insurance company, and follow their lead.

    Bonus, the insurance company’s claims folks are trained to resolve this stuff while being the “bad guy”. You can literally dump this on them and they take the customer service off of your plate, in a way. If the customer decides to be a hard on about things, you simply need to tell them that you aren’t allowed to discuss the situation with them and direct them to the insurance company.
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myth2988 1

Read your policy, and make sure you know your deductible amount

key2616 3

Do you have Liability insurance? Because this is a very simple liability claim.

seviay 3

This should be covered under general liability or errors & omissions. Contact your agent

Argad91 76

Ah ok ok. It depends on the insurance so read the terms of your insurance from the insurance companys website. Or there is a funny story of a guy who stored his sailing boat sails in a warehouse. After the winter some animal had bitten holes in his sales.
The guy is smart. He decides to call his insurance companys competitor first. He explains the situation over the phone. The insurance company representative responds that they will only cover the damage if the holes were made by a squirrle but will not cover if it was made by other type of rodent (due to the small print on the insurance papers). So the guy hangs up and calls his own insurance company explains how a squirrle ate holes in his sails. His own insurance companys representative asks "How do you know it was a squirrle?" And the guy replies "it had a fluffy tale".

But seriously you can just read the terms on your insurance papers or call the company.

  swm43 5

So im gonna call a competitor ins company first

swoofswoofles 15

The issue with that idea is the competitor doesn't know what policy you have and what it covers....I would just present the situation to your insurance company and see what they say. Be honest and tell them what happened. Its all you really can do.

  swm43

And if they dont cover it im fucked. Im fucked big time because this could easily cost me $3-5,000 out of pocket. I’m just so sick of this shit. Never getting ahead.

Yulppp 12

Hey, just make this easy on yourself and don’t call anyone. Simply read the terms of your current insurance policy and determine for yourself whether or not your claim would fall under an event condition that would be coverable by your insurance policy. The terms will be clear as to what is covered and what is not and what the criteria are. Don’t commit fraud, but read carefully.

Either your covered or not. The insurance provider will follow the same guidelines laid out in their policy, verbatim. Don’t overthink it and don’t beat yourself up. Learn from this and move on.

GrandBago 33

Go ahead and rant and rail at yourself and life and this situation. Get it out.

After, take a deep breath, forgive your human mistake, make it right, and look at how to make sure that mistake is never made again. Move on, because going back is not the right answer.

Good luck. And I sincerely hope you face additional challenges that will—in the end-improve your self-confidence.

  swm43 1

What do you mean by the last part?

BewbonicSalad 9

I’m go with live and learn is what he means

GrandBago 26

As you face things that do not go as planned...and you persevere...you’ll be a much better entrepreneur than you were when you started.

Different experiences, different challenges, grow you in ways that allow you to solve later challenges, even those you’ve never experienced, with far more ease.

aaiceman 20

That's a good one I hadn't heard before.

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aaiceman 30

It means call a competitor and present the situation and then ask them what coverages would be needed for them to insure such a situation. Then once you know that, review your current coverage and find out if you are lacking anything or need to present your issue with certain words or phrases to keep an already muddied situation as clear as possible.

tcpip4lyfe 15

Make sure you don't commit insurance fraud though...

PersianLink 6

Surviving in business means learning and knowing when it is necessary to “bend” the rules a bit.

tcpip4lyfe 19

Insurance fraud isn't bending the rules there buckwheat.

HadHerses 6

Buckwheat made me cackle. I don't know why!

PersianLink 16

If you’re willing to lose thousands of dollars for your business because of the difference between a squirrel and a mouse in the fine print of your insurance coverage when neither you nor your insurance company could possibly prove one way or another, then you aren’t a good business person. Committing to “squirrel did it” instead of “possibly a squirrel did it but I can’t know for sure” is bending the rules in your favor, and no one is going to go after you for insurance fraud.

kenacstreams 442

Man, reading the comments there's quite a bit to unpack here.

It sounds like you've just got a customer claiming you caused "thousands of dollars" worth of damage.

Don't panic. Start at the top.

1) Go look at the damage. Determine whether or not it even exists or if it is your fault.

2) Assuming there is damage and it is your fault, determine if it is fixable by you or if you will need to hire someone.

3) Get quotes to get the damage repaired. Don't take the customers quotes.

4) Figure out how to pay for it once you actually know what it's going to cost.

5) If it costs more than you an afford consider an insurance claim.

Don't jump to step 5 until you do 1-4. You're on step 76 - assuming the worst. Skip that step and get the details of what the damage is and what the repair cost is before you make a decision.

Unfortunatefortune 1

I agree with most of what your saying but a couple big points missed. Check your insurance policy. Some require that you notify immediately when you are aware of circumstances that may lead to a claim. Not doing this could void coverage so be careful about delaying.

The second thing is when you attend to view damages remember to keep it simple don’t admit to anything and do not under any circumstances say you’ll be covering all costs. This can ruin any defense and can also jeopardize coverage if you do end up making a claim.

Best of luck and don’t stress it’s likely not as big of an issue as you think.

Buckeyes000777 2

Dad has entered the chat

dirtyoldbastard77 2

This is good advice!

libertetrading 2

You want to be my life concierge? I could use this logic more often

I_am_Wudi 2

Good job on that explanation!

Randomacct7652 4

One other perk to doing steps 1-4 first rather than running to your insurance company right away, sometimes just asking about a situation counts as a claim and can jack up your rates. (Even if you never eventually file a claim and get $0 from them)

slickshot 3

This is actually fraudulent on the insurance company if you can reasonably prove that they increased your rates without a claim to go off of. They cannot legally file any documentation of a claim without you actually filing a claim. Can't do it. And if they do, you stick it to them.

Randomacct7652 1

Can you provide a source on this? When I looked at this, it seemed like just asking could legally impact rates in many places.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/news/get-there/wp/2014/12/15/just-asking-about-an-insurance-claim-can-make-your-rate-go-up/%3FoutputType%3Damp

EDIT: Clarity

slickshot 1

It depends on which state you're in as to how the legality of it shakes out. For example, in Texas it was illegal up until 2013 or so for an insurance company to raise your rates of you inquired about a possible claim. Lobbyists get these laws omitted when they can, obviously.

Here's the tip, though. If you're inquiring about the possibility of filing a claim, but haven't filed and they raise your rates then shop elsewhere. Tell them you're switching companies because of their fraudulent rate hike. They'll either wipe it, or you'll find someone better.

Randomacct7652 1

Curious - Does that work? It sounded from the article that this stuff gets reported to a central database that all insurers use. So everybody would be quoting you based on that same incident.

slickshot 2

Those reports usually consider the claim and how many claims you've made. Recently I spoke with my agent about the possibility of filing a claim for a job. He looked into it, said it wouldn't change our rate if we did file, but that it would most likely affect our rate if we filed a second time later on. Every company is a little different, and if you're using one that hikes the rate just for inquiring then maybe you should shop elsewhere.

Randomacct7652 1

Got it - so it sounds like there are different policies in place that vary by company and you can use that as leverage to get better rates.

slickshot 1

Shopping is good.

JustALinuxNerd 5

The client also sounds like the type that sees that he's green and rapes him litigiously. I'm presuming our poor friend here didn't' take before pictures, nor had anything beyond an estimate. Two things a scorpion would observe before striking.

From years of non-construction business experience, I've run into some really shitty clients that I'm always happy to "recommend" to someone else.

If you require a scientific approach to the problem -> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_About_Bob

  swm43 14

Ya it’s obvious I’m new business owner because of my age. And I reacted very nervously. I do have some before pictures of the pavers prior to the job clearly showing the state they were in before I started.

dirtyoldbastard77 1

Does any of your pictures by chance also show the areas/objects he says are damaged? Like those metal posts and the plant?

  swm43 2

Yes it shows the metal beams

dirtyoldbastard77 1

Thats good, then you have some proof of how things looked before

SilverFox8188 4

Excellent advice! Also make sure to take pictures when you go back out! As a professional cleaner that's why I ALWAYS take before and after pics.

  swm43 5
  1. So I should call him tomorrow and ask to take a look at said damage?

    1.) What if he tells me no, I can’t look at damage? He lives in a gated community.

    2.) I won’t be able to fix damage.

    3.) How do I tell the customer this? Tell him I am going to get my own contractors to take a look? What if he denies my request and says he wants to use contractors he selects?

    4.) Ok. I am going to assume the damage is at least a few thousand honestly. I can afford it, I have the money... would it be better paid out of pocket than insurance?
kenacstreams 10

1) Yes. You tell him you're going to make it right and you need to see the damage and get an assessment of how to get it taken care of. If he refuses to let you see it tell him to pound sand. Tell him you're willing to correct your mistakes but you won't blindly give him money because he claims there is damage. If thats what he is asking for tell him to sue you and find a lawyer if you get served paperwork. Get a record of him denying to let you assess the damage or hire a repairman if it comes to that.

2) how do you know? Has he even sent you pictures of it or anything or youre just taking his word on it? Did you take any before pictures prior to starting your work?

3) yes you tell him exactly that. If you caused damage your responsibility is to fix the damage. Youre under no obligation to oblige any demands he has about who fixes it. If he has a contractor that's great get their quote from him but also get your own 2-3 quotes for comparison. If theyre close in price and he has a preference then you can use his guy just make sure youre not getting taken advantage of.

4) thats up to you. Personally I'd pay it out of pocket rather than involve the insurance. Insurance is a necessity but should avoid being used at any cost. Theyre a safety net for catastrophic events not a cost saving measure. You dont want them in your business asking questions and looking for reasons to deny your claim or drop you if you can avoid it.

Basically you need to keep it professional, offer to do what is right, but do your due diligence and make sure this isn't an attempted shakedown for cash.

Random-Mutant 4

Just to add, if you need to make an insurance claim, and they tell you news you don’t like, try pressing them further. Sometimes they will make an “ex gratia” payment with no admission of liability.

Be scrupulously truthful with your insurer but read your policy carefully first. As usual, don’t admit to more than you need to and don’t over-explain anything.

Nightingale-Nights 18

> Don't take the customers quotes.

I'll repeat those words

DO NOT TAKE CUSTOMER'S QUOTES

Their number one priority in this situation should be to get the damage fixed, NOT TO OBTAIN THE MONEY TO GET IT FIXED.

DO NOT deal with any repairmen that the customer has supposedly obtained a quote from as the relationship between them and the customer is unknown. Hire your own worker. Ignore all arguments about how how the customer's guy can get it fixed for cheap or that you should just let him deal with it because he doesn't trust you. DO NOT HAND OVER ANY MONEY PERTAINING TO THE DAMAGES SUPPOSEDLY CAUSED TO THE CUSTOMER, lawyer the fuck up and prepare for a lawsuit. If the customer wants the money but not the repair job that badly they can sue you for it.

However you, as the business owner, are fully free to give them a partial or, if you're feeling really bad, a full refund on the job to maintain good relations if you agree that it was your own fault and the damage really is that bad.

JLeeSaxon 1

If I were the person whose stuff OP had already messed up splashing stripper everywhere, he's already lost good faith and him telling me what you've written would 153% come across as "I found some day laborer who will half-ass these repairs on the cheap."

njtrafficsignshopper 1

Putting myself in the customer's shoes (and presuming I'm not trying to actually scam OP) this would scream bad faith to me.

Yeah, I can understand wanting to check the outside contractor's work, but at the same time imagine what it looks like from the customer's side - you break his shit, then you don't want someone else to evaluate how much damage you did? Maybe you could arrange to have both look at it together, or agree on a disinterested third party. But handling it as you suggest would say to me that you have no interest in taking any responsibility. Worse, it could severely damage OP's reputation.

mountain_marmot95 5

I’m a contractor that started on a high volume, low liability type of work. Servicing 5-10 clients per day. Back then I dealt with a couple serious ambulance chasers.

Step 1 is trying to please the client. Meet in person and try to resolve the issue peacefully. If they really just want the problem fixed they will be open to suggestions and willing to work with you. If they just want money or free work it’ll be immediately obvious. If it’s cheaper than a lawyer it’s sometimes easiest just to swallow your pride and give them what they want. Otherwise every move is about protecting liability. A 3rd party opinion is likely to be your best bet in court so it’s important to get that out of the way before things escalate to lawyers.

Some people will do “repairs” themselves, or hire their cousin/brother-in-law. Those types always end in extravagant bills, so it’s important to get your own guy in there to protect your liability early. Once the client initiates bad faith all bets are off.

lbeeman2007 56

This comment should be up top. What I read was alleged damage to a plant, alleged damage to pavers that were already half destroyed, and some stripped paint from a metal beam.

I’d add this, sometimes the cost of business is paying a small amount of money to shut up dissatisfied clients. Other times the cost of business is hiring an attorney because the client will never be satisfied and is going to take you to the cleaners and still trash your name. Experience is knowing which route to take.

  swm43 34

What if the customer says that they they want to use their own contractors that they selected and deny my request for me to send people other there to take a look for estimates

smartitardi 1

You need to be very careful what you say to them. Print out all the written communication you’ve had and save any voicemails. Try to remember what you might have said in a voicemail and write it down. Bring everything to a lawyer. You are not working with reasonable people! I’m concerned that you might have already admitted fault. It sounds like they might be taking advantage of what is probably a cheaper problem. This economy hasn’t been great for everyone and it sounds like they don’t want the issue fixed, but instead might be looking for a payout.

  swm43 1

It is illegal in my state to record anyone unknowingly. I have not said anything incriminating in text or in email.

agcoustic 2

Depends on the state but at least in Texas thats not generally an option. Under RCLA theres a time period for you to investigate the claim and propose a fix. This can include your own contractors. They can't just ban you from the property and backbill you for a repair unless theres more to this story than what is proposed. If they maintain that you cannot use your own people or investigate you will have to let them serve you.

brad-corp 4

I don't know how it works in your country, but that is not how it works here in Australia.

A system like that is ripe for abuse. There's nothing stopping me from employing you to do the job, then after you leave for the day, pouring litres of stripper over everything, taking photos of the damage and then demanding you pay my friends to fix it because you can't prove you didn't do it, but I can prove you were working in the area that was damaged.

mickskitz 10

This is an unreasonable refusal. If theoretically, this went to small claims court, there would be very little justification for such an action. If this goes through insurance, 100% the insurance company is going to require either their own assessor or multiple quotes to repair the damage.
A drastic exaggeration but this highlights why.

Imagine if the client got his brother-in-law to quote that to fix this would cost $1,000,000, would either you, your insurance company or a Judge say that $1,000,000 is the cost of damages based off that 1 quote?

100% what the top comment says, follow those steps and you should be fine. If it goes through insurance eventually, explain what happened and how it happened and let them deal with it.

Reptilian-American 44

It's one thing to let them select the contractor to do the work. It's another to even keep you from sending someone out to inspect it and give you their estimate.

If they aren't letting you inspect it and they are not letting you send out someone you trust to give an estimate for the remediation, then they're just scamming you or just generally shouldn't be trusted.

if you get an estimate and they get an estimate and they are divergent, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's a scam. It could mean that they are portraying the damages differently to their estimator, causing the significant difference in pricing. But you would then at least have two estimates and be able to compare and make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

joergisgodly 102

Sounds like a scam.

coasterboard 55

Yea, that makes your decision easy. Lawyer.