Liable or NOT?? Employee

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by LandvistaLawns, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. LandvistaLawns

    LandvistaLawns LawnSite Member
    from Atco,NJ
    Messages: 3

    I've been reading these boards for about a year but haven't jumped in. They're helpful and I was hoping to get some advice-
    Last week my husband received a call from our foreman: he said that a woman would be calling that said she was driving down the road where the crew was planting mums (3 Laborer plus him) and she said she saw one guy playing baseball with the shovel and another pitching stones, one hit her windshield and she continued driving to her destination when she realized the window had been cracked. . On her return they were still at the job so she stopped to speak with my foreman and gave him this story. He did not witness any of the activity and was on the same side of building except for going in to talk to the owner, who wasn't available and came right out. The laborers said they weren't playing baseball with rocks!!

    The woman called and spoke with my husband and stated the above and also that her friend traveling to the same place saw them as well.

    My husband stated he had didn't know who was liable? That insurance hers or ours would probably not cover it since it would likely be less than the deductible. He told her to get an estimate and we would go from there.

    My insurance did infact have a $250 deductible, this is not an option /hers is $500.

    my question is who should pay? Do we have to pay because they work for us and were on a job? Or are the individuals responsible to defend there innocence?

    Any thoughts?OPINIONS? facts? greatly appreciated.

    "Changing the way you view the Land"
    Landvista Lawns & Landscaping
  2. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,852

    Lisa, tough call and obviously it's a gut check. I can't possibly imagine someone hitting my car while screwing around and NOT getting out to check for damage. That was her mistake here and could have save a lot of hassle.

    Whatever you do with this, I would definitely not file a claim for a windshield. Windshields are almost a commodity price now and some insurance companies replace them as a safety hazard without dinging your record or even charging you.

    Other advice I'll give: look into raising your deductible. your premiums will be lower and you won't be tempted to file a claim for something in the hundreds of dollars range. Similar to homeowners or car insurance, I'd take it to the highest you could possible avoid. Too many people view insurance as warranty when it come's to the home, and not as insurance. A couple of claims and you can easily be blacklisted for a couple of years, meaning higher deductibles for crappy coverage.

  3. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,912

    If it happen as stated .... you the company is responsible for actions of the employee .... those actions should be in the coarse of responsible acts from the employee .... in this case I would get it fix with NO insurance claim n have the employee pay that back to me

    FANTASY LAWNS INC. will perform these services as an independent contractor and in a manner considered reasonable. It will provide labor and equipment to perform the work as outlined in the Statement of Work. Work will be performed in a safe, professional and expeditious manner; and it may employ assistants and subcontract for services. ALL Workers while on Median’s shall wear reflective Safety Vest.

    This is some of our legal jumbo ....n in our employee hand book it clearly states that employees must conduct themselves in a reponsible matter

    NOW back to the issue .... I'd tell the lady to take a hike ...she should have stopped right than n there .... NO one would act different ... unless she was in labor to the hospital or late for court

    I had a lady claim while at the dentist office one of my guys weed eated a "dent" into her car .... I told her to have her insurance agent call me .....Allstate ....I ask the agent to look at it n explain how a vertical dent 20" above the ground was from a weed eater line ..... or more likely perhaps a shopping cart being pushed into it .... n the lady just did not notice it until after the dentist visit n just assumed we did it

    Point is .... even if the worker was doing as said .... the impact would have more than likely shattered the rock or just hit it 20-30 feet .... he'd have to have picked up a big solid one n in that case would have shattered the windshield n she would have know that in an instant ...n human reaction would be to pull over to check it for safety reasons
  4. LandvistaLawns

    LandvistaLawns LawnSite Member
    from Atco,NJ
    Messages: 3

    Thanks for the advice. I think that I'm gonna let her decide whether to persue legal action or not. For a sum of 187 dollars its unlikely any lawyer will have interest. Small claims is probably her only recourse so, We'll let a judge decide whose story to believe. I beleive in honest business but putting my back against a corner and paying to make it go away is not the way. If she had stopped right away and made the claim I probably wouldn't doubt her, but I know if a Rock hit my window and I knew right away who did it, I would STOP RIGHT AWAY . For all I know she could be a really good story teller.

  5. Dwan

    Dwan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    Fantasy Lawns, "in this case I would get it fix with NO insurance claim n have the employee pay that back to me "

    You may want to check with your state laws but in the 3 states I have been in business in you can not make an employe pay for anything caused in the line of work. Only the court has thet power. You may fire them but withholding any amount from they pay unless previously aggreeded apon is aginst the law.

    Could be different in your state but worth a check.
  6. all ferris

    all ferris LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,309

    Had this happen to me once. Lady said I chipped her windshild and wanted me to pay her deductible. I told her to prove that I did it and I would pay. Never heard another word from her. In this case I would tell her to go to h e double hockey sticks.

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