Is it my fault?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Architeach, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. Architeach

    Architeach LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 4

    I saw a couple of posts in some other areas on this topic but none that answered my question.
    I had a tree service come to my house and take out some very large pines that were a possible danger to the house. In the process of taking out the trees the crew caused some damage including; cracking and breaking part of the driveway, dropping a large top portion of one of the trees onto some other tress we just had installed, rutting out large portions of the yard, and running over and breaking some bushes in a couple of landscape beds, rutting out the yard and tearing up the grass. The crew was cutting and lower the limbs with robes the first day, but just cut and dropped the limbs on the second, which seems to have caused most of the landscape damage. I wouldn't be so mad if they had told us that this kind of damage might occur, and we were never told about the use of a Bobcat. I not even that mad about the grass, understanding that the portions of trees were to heavy to lift by hand. I did meet with the owner of the company and he told me none of this is his fault including the driveway and that this was typical of this type of tree extraction. Is this true? The owner said it wasn't his fault the driveway was installed incorrectly. Don't most of these companies carry insurance for this very reason. Any advise or comments would be very helpful.
     
  2. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Posts: 4,205

    The owner of this tree "service" is a bozo.
    No such damage other than a little "turf" damage should be
    seen from any tree service that knows what they are doing.
    Any other damage other than a bit of turf is their responsibility.
    That is why they are "supposed" to have insurance. No owner wants to use their insurance, particularly in a tree service, however the fact that he is blatantly blowing you off for obvious ineptness (I'm taking your comments to be truth) on the part of his employees should tell you a bit about the "man".
     
  3. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk LawnSite Member
    Posts: 195

    I did my tree removals myself, but only after speaking to a couple of pros, one at length, about how to go about it mysefl, and the potential damages. I said, "Yeah, but you run the same risks." He replied that yes, he did, but he is bonded against that very sort of thing.

    If your removal "expert" is any sort of a legitimate businessman, then he is also bonded, and more than responsible. I'd call another local tree service, and ask them how and to what extent they are covered for damaging your property. Then you might seek advice from an attorney locally, if he/she will give anything up in an initial consultation, just to get your bearings as to what it right.

    If you pay me to do a job that is beynd your scope, and I agree to do it, unless I have you sign a waiver excusing me from liability, then I am liable for damages caused during my contractual period/work effort.

    Seems to me he is trying to get off easy. Don't let him. Repairs/restitution should be made.

    BTW, a neighbor of mine had 7 trees removed last month, some large (70' pines & some oaks), and except for some minor tire tracks in the yard, no other damage. All limbs were lowered carefully, and all signs of their work was removed from the site. Nothing to complain about except more sunlight in their yard!
     
  4. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    A friend of mine owns a tree service. Turf damage is typical of this kind of work, often unavoidable, in his contracts he states that they are not liable for turf damage. Otherwise, I think you got the run-around. When my buddy estimates, he factors in the degree of difficulty, potential for property damage, etc. before arriving at a price. Since tree work has some of the highest insurance rates (I think only roofing is worse), he probably doesn't want to file a claim, and is stonewalling you. I'd pursue this further.

    How did they crack the driveway?
     
  5. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Hey, just found a copy of my buddy's contract that he gave me when he took out 2 trees for me. On the back, in the fine print, of course the turf damage disclaimer. The only other reference to property damage reads as follows:

    Limitation of Liability-

    "Such and Such Tree Service shall not be responsible to any damage caused to customer's property that is HIDDEN OR OTHERWISE NOT OBSERVIBLE to the naked eye, including, but not limited to, underground pipes, electrical and telephone wires, irrigation systems, and the like, unless otherwise stated herein."

    I would imagine your driveway is visible to the naked eye?

    Like I mentioned before, he factors in potential property damage. If he thinks he might destroy a section of fence during the course of the work, he throws in enough to cover the repairs in the price, so he doesn't have to file claims with his insurance carrier.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Dwan

    Dwan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 87

    Call him back and ask for the name of his insurance compeny. If he refuses call the state and see if he has a business license, if he dose they may have the name of his Ins. co. name.
    If he does not have a business license turn him in so this sort of thing does not happen to others. Then take him to small clames court.
     
  7. Architeach

    Architeach LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 4

    Thank you sooooo much for all the advise. I am usually a very easy going and reasonable person and my wife says I give in all the time, but I firmly believe I have been given the shaft on this one! I am so troubled and mad over dealing with this situation I can't even start to explain it.
    As of right now the company still has to finish the job because they were suppose to grind the stumps for all of these trees and have not returned to do it. The contract I have with them states nothing about possible damage only that the owner, (myself) must pay the full invoice amount and must pay upon the completion of the work. As I see it, I am not obligated to pay him anything until he finishes the work.
    They driveway was cracked from the Bobcat loader which was used to carry off the large sections of the tree trunks. I think they turn around and sell the long section of these pines to a mill or something?
    The owner even tried to intimidate me when we meet to discuss the problem. He thinks I'm just trying to rip him off, but I just want my things fixed. He even claimed that this was typical for this type of work! Yeah right! It's typical to go to someones home, run over bushes, damage other things in the yard, and crack and break part of the driveway, and even cut down a tree that wasn't to be touched! Sounds typical to me!
    Sorry for the rampage, but this is just beyond stupid. I am going to look into the insurance coverage for their company.
    Thanks again for all the help, I'll keep you up to date on how it goes.
     
  8. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Broken or/and cracked drive, Would have to see it before I would want to even venture a guess if its the fault of the contractor on that one. I've seen some concrete drives that were old. cracked, hollow underneath, rotted. The weight of just the skid would have busted up some drives that I've seen. JMO
    Mac
     
  9. Dwan

    Dwan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 87

    Can you post a few pictures of the dammage for us? Also you mentioned cutting a tree that was not susopse to be cut, please explane that one.
     
  10. BladesAway

    BladesAway LawnSite Member
    from Ok
    Posts: 74

    Don't pay him till he either fixes the problems or you can have someone else bid on fixing his mess. I have cut alot of trees down in my time and we always put down plywood anywhere we will be running my loader (on the concrete and in the yard). He should know better than this, most equipment is to heavy for residential driveways and if he rutted up the yard he should have at least sanded the areas he drove in it. Don't pay him a dime till you address all this. You also need to take pictures to save your own butt if he decides to take you to court.Hopefully you have before and after pics.
     

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