View Full Version : Truck Damaged by employee

10-22-2002, 06:14 PM
Being a small company I usually cut grass before or after work. I only have one part time employee and he does a satisfactory job.

The other day I'd just got home from work and was changing clothes. My part- timer was outside getting things ready. Now usually he does not hook the trailer to the truck but I guess he thought he was saving some time by hooking up and getting things ready to load. Well he didn't get the hitch locked down completely and when he put the first mower on, the front end of the trailer came up, rolled forward and put two nice gashes in the tail gate of my one year old truck.

Now if this had been an older truck, and not the daily driver it wouldn't of been a big deal but I dang near cried (not literally). He offered to pay for it but my question is since he was on the clock and he was trying to get stuff ready and he's never damaged anything in the past, should I make him pay for it all or work out a deal where maybe he pays half or two thirds.

My deductible is $500, one estimate is slightly lower than that, the second about $75 more and the third $125 more.

Just thought I'd throw this out to see what you guys think.


10-22-2002, 06:49 PM
Write it off. At least he was making an effort. :rolleyes:

10-22-2002, 07:12 PM
In the past I had a driver skip off a fire hydrant with a brand new GMC 3/4 plow truck, ripping a gash down the entire side of the cab.

Well, the driver was a good employee, the hydrant was hidden under a snow bank and she used to hustle a lot of extra work for the firm so it all weighed out and I let the issue go without a big deal.

I've adopted the attitude that if no one is hurt or killed, it isn't such a big deal. Cars and trucks can be repaired.

Heck, I dropped a kayak on the roof of my new Sierra while loading it on, leaving a little divit...but thats life.

10-22-2002, 07:23 PM
I'd say don't get it fixed and don't blame the employee.

He was trying to do good.

To reprimand now would stop his wanting to do good. He'll never go forward and want to do anything without asking again. I doubt you want to constantly tell this guy day in and day out forever what to do. Plus if you make it an issue, it's awkward forever.

I doubt he meant to do it on purpose. He probably feels just as crappy about it as you are mad.

I put a dent in the back of my truck the same way. My mower wasn't secured down 100% and rolled to the back of the trailer. While driving, I went over a dip in the road and the whole trailer popped off the ball! I saw it in the rear view mirror, thank goodness for safety chains. My first reaction was to hit the brakes, which caused the trailer coupler to pierce into my tailgate as well. It's a 2002 Dodge ram that I bought new in December. This happened in July, so it was only 7 or 8 months old for me as well.

I bet your estimate is somewhere around $500. Forget about even getting it fixed for now. It's a work truck, and although not great, you can always get it fixed for the same exact price if you ever go to sell the truck. But for now, ask the repairshop if by not fixing it, will it cause any further rust or problems? If not, forget it cause you know it'll happen again 6 days after you get it back from being fixed. <G>


10-22-2002, 07:32 PM
I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make him pay for it and I was pretty proud of myself for not losing control and giving him the what for.

But I think I'll get it fixed anyway. I unfortunately am one of those guys who trades every couple years and that new Dodge CTD is callin my name. Probably clean the damage up, put some touch up paint on it to protect it this winter and fix it next summer, then trade for a new one.

Thanks for the imput fella's, I appreciate it.


10-22-2002, 08:14 PM
my dad always says if you use something enough eventually it will break. get it fixed, and write it off. things happen

10-22-2002, 08:34 PM
It's a work truck, doesn't matter how old or how new. If it was on the driver side were I would have to look at it every day it would be fixed. But the tailgate I would leave it alone. Just wax your truck and rub the dent whenever your help is looking. A little guilt goes a long way.

Green Pastures
10-22-2002, 08:47 PM
My helper ran a w/b into the back right quarter panel of my F-250 AFTER I had specifically told her to "come around this side of the truck, not the curbside" she was running the Hydro w/b for like the second or third time and I was wondering if she had it down yet, especially from a stop on pavement. Well, while putting the equipment away from that job I saw the dent/scratches. I about went off, but I did not see her do it, so I shut my mouth. I could tell that she felt horrible by the way she was really quiet the rest of the day/week. I never said a word to her about it. She never mentioned it either, which I was disappointed about, but I could tell she felt really bad. I ended up fixing it when I got t-boned in an intersection.

I've got a few small scratches now and I'm not so paranoid about the first scratch anymore. I still get pretty anal about my truck, it stays clean and waxed.

I'd let it go, he didn't mean to do it and he will hopefully have learned a lesson. If you make a big deal about it he probably wont ever show initiative again. I'd say something to him, I mean don't just let it go, but dont make him feel stupid. You know.......


Blessed 1
10-22-2002, 09:46 PM
I have the same gash in my tail gate......on both of my trucks.......that "I" did ...the same way.:rolleyes: Give him a break. Good help is dang near impossible to find!

10-22-2002, 10:06 PM
I bought a new ford in '94. Not even a week later the same thing happened. I never did get it fixed, but the nice thing is I can barely see it. Its pretty well mixed in with all the other scratches and dings. I never even considered making any one pay for it.

10-22-2002, 11:19 PM
Not one dent or scratch in my trucks are from me.

One truck has the same dent/scratch from not locking the trailer down.

10-22-2002, 11:43 PM
I called him earlier after reading a few of the replies. I told him not to worry about it. Like I said I was pretty proud of myself; I think about all I said was s.o.b., and that was to myself and in a hushed tone. He's a good guy and his son and I are good friends, besides he's doing me a big favor helpin out so it's no big deal.

Again, I thank everyone for the advice. Sure makes it easier when you can go to guys who've been through this already.:D


10-23-2002, 01:27 AM
Hey, personally I wouldn'd do anything... it is a truck. A truck that is too pretty is kinda weird, like then kids buy a truck and drop it down making it into a lowrider. I do believe that you have to keep your truck in good shape and looking nice but remember what he did was not done on purpose.... Hey Steve, I expect you to remind me what I said to you when it happens to me...ok?:D

Originally posted by KDJ
Just wax your truck and rub the dent whenever your help is looking. A little guilt goes a long way.
That is great:laugh:

The Mowerdude
10-23-2002, 07:32 AM
This is one of the reasons I drive old beaters. ( Well, ok, of course another reason is that I don't have the money for a new truck but hey....)

Anyway, I call these my luxury trucks because I have the luxury of not worrying about it. I have an Uncle that's been the body and fender business since prehistoric times. He's always said that any vehicle that gets put to use, will get its battle scars.

But here's my story. A few years ago I had a really nice 4-door Chevy 1 ton. My wife hit some ice one January and bent up the front. We had to replace the grill, bumper, hood got bent, one of the front fenders and the engine fan cut a circle out of the radiator. Amazingly the air conditioner condensor, dryer and tranny cooler all survived. A week after getting everything fixed, we were down at the welding shop picking up some stuff. The truck was in someone's way, so one of my guys went to move it. Somehow he got his pants leg caught on the brake pedal and couldn't get on the brakes. (he says...) He ran it into the side of the welding shop tearing down an entire wall, racks of metal flying everywhere and needless to say, the truck was back in the body shop. This time nothing on the front of end survived. It almost totaled the truck. In this case, though, what really made the difference was the fact that he couldn't resist the 454 engine. He had punched it and was laying rubber right before it got away from him.

I took the deductable out of his check and State Farm made me sign a waiver prohibiting him from ever driving any of my vehicles again.

10-23-2002, 10:33 AM
Technically, since he was an employee who was on the clock, it is illegal for him to pay anything for the damage. The most you can do is have a disipline policy or procedures in place and follow those guidelines(ie. days off without pay, reduction in pay, etc.) to hold up in court if ever sued.
On another note, I belive eveyone has had or will have this happen to them when you have employees. My first truck was half paid for by my dad, so it was also used as one of our basic farm trucks. By the time I graduated college and moved on, my truck had about 20 dents, dings, and scratches(mainly in the bed area) all from employees that worked for us. Only one employee was fired when he lied about damage done to the truck when we actually saw what happen. If only he had told the truth, he would have kept his job.
If you do get the truck repaired, write it off on your taxes.

bubble boy
10-23-2002, 11:28 AM
this brings up a very important point.

when hooking up a trailer some people will think its hooked, when its not. if one guy secures the hitch of the trailer, chains etc. the while other starts to load, can be trouble.

i saw the guys doing just that recently, one guy had his head right over the hitch...while the other loaded. i lost it, they hadn't even considered what could have happened. talk about serious injury. they now know to ensure the hitch is attatched, and be no where near the hitch when the trailer is being loaded.

everyone should mention this to their employees, and remind them once in a while.

10-23-2002, 01:18 PM
For it to be illegal, you have to get cought.......confusous.

10-23-2002, 03:17 PM
I'll be sure to remind you darb.

As far as driving an old beater, it probably would be in my best intrest to find me an older truck next spring but with the payment on this rig being what it is I imagine I'll just use it and set up some guidlines loading/unloading etc.:)


10-23-2002, 04:31 PM
When I hook up a trailer I have a thing I always do. I count to 4.
1. Jack up?
2. ball hooked with pin
3. electric cord attached
4. Pin in tilt/tail gate up

I just count to 4 and I know I did it right.

As for the ding in the gate, you did the right thing. All part of doing business. Like my dad said when he dented my 4 day old Silverado, "Hey, it's last years model anyway." Made me mad but it is a work truck.


10-23-2002, 04:44 PM
Originally posted by bubble boy
this brings up a very important point.

everyone should mention this to their employees, and remind them once in a while.

Not only about this, all safty rules.

I caught Doug holding his hand on the seat to keep the mower and blades running, so he could get off and pick up a can.:angry:

some people make honest mistakes, and some are just idiots.

10-23-2002, 05:58 PM
That is exactly the word.... "Work Truck" I would be upset, but when he is working alot of things do go wrong. I would not take my corvette out to cut grass just cause it looks good.

10-23-2002, 11:06 PM
He'd have a fired a**! Just joking I'm with everyone else. If you get onto him about it he woun't take any initiative to help out the company by speeding up the process.

10-24-2002, 12:43 PM
I am not going to even read others horror stories on this subject. This has been discussed several times on this site. Point blank it is illegal for you as the employer from doing anything to collect money for this damage from the employee. You can't dock wages or ask for them to pay for it. This is why you have insurance and only hire people you can trust!