Damage Claims and how to handle them

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by CMerLand, May 29, 2003.

  1. CMerLand

    CMerLand LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    Touched on this subject in another thread but thought I would start its own thread.

    In the past month I have had two incidents in which a person claimed we damaged their car by throwing rocks from mowers or weedeaters.

    First incident I wasnt present at but got the call from my foreman when this guy started flipping out that while he was eating his lunch our GHS Walker thru rocks at his truck and put several dents in it. I drove out to the scene took some digital pictures of which dings he claimed we caused. (95 Jimmy, with original paint and plenty of dings.) The two he pointed to were scratches, not dings caused from the doors rubbing on another car when they were opened, so I knew this guy was just looking for a payout.

    I then gave him three options on how I would handle his damage claim.

    1. Turn it into his comprehensive insurance company and have his insurance company come after me for payment.

    2. Take the car to be fixed, at which point I would be willing to pay for half of the repair, and that the check would only be made out to the body shop.

    3. Take me to small claims court to get me to pay for the whole repair.

    Gave him my business card and never heard from him again.

    Second incident I was on the job that day, and we were pretty darn certain that in fact we did shoot something and ding the ladies car door (95 Blazer in much better condition). So more then willing to pay for our damage, I asked her to get me three estimates for the repair.

    I then wrote a check to her personally and had her sign a release stating that that was all I was paying for this damage. The release states that this was the lowest estimate provided by a shop of her choosing, and that we would not be responsible for any additional claims, either directly or indirectly as a result of the damage. She could then get it repaired at any shop of her choosing but she would have to pay the difference herself. Without the release, they can come back and try to get you to pay for a rental car, or if the colors dont match or any other number of reasons.

    Unfortunately, you cant require that they get the car fixed, and Im pretty certain that this wasnt going to be repaired. I was convinced when she didnt put up a fuss over the fact that the lowest estimate was $ 100 bucks cheaper then the shop she "wanted" to get it fixed at.

    Anyone else have procedures in place for when a non-client or even a client claims damage that you arent certain you may or may not have caused? Would love to hear some thoughts???

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