Owners want me to pay for broken backhoe

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Mike33, Sep 30, 2006.

  1. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    I have stated before i do not own a dump truck i have my choice of 3 people to choose from. Last week i was working in a real nice development in my area where it is all nice homes. The development is always expanding and they have there own eqpt., graders, track hoes, dozer, etc. Along with this they have all material there for building a new yard, shale for fill, clay, top soil out of field, and river bottom top soil. I ask them if they would sell me about 10 loads of top soil for 2 small yards out side of the development i was doing. The foreman i always deal with and pay my bill said yes. I called one of my truck guys and told him to be there at such time for hauling. The foreman sent a guy up to load truck and i asked him if he was going to be there the rest of the afternoon to load that the truck would be back about every 25 minutes. He said he wasent sure and i told them that the guy driving the truck ( 52 years old ) ran equiptment his whole life and even owns a hoe and does work on the side could load but it was up to them. I went to my job and started moving dirt the driver said on the next load the guy told him to go ahead and load. Well 3 loads later the driver told me the hoe broke, the safety plate come out some how and when he lowered the boom it knocked off a hyd. line. I went over and seen it and there was not much fluid on the ground so i know he shut the machine off as soon as he seen fluid. I know this guy he is a good operater and does not rough equiptment. Later i get a phone call from one of the partners of the dev. and said that i and the cont. who owned the truck was liable and they had a mechanic out that stated the machine was abused and the parts bill was up to $2,700.00. I said i would contact the owner of the truck and get back with them the next day but i would not commit my self. I was on my way to look at a job which the guy was a attorney i told him my story and he said tell them *********. The next morning i went over to the dev. and spoke with another partner and he talked respectfully to me as i did him , he felt i was liable since i was a cont and i subbed the trucking i would be resp. I didnt want to loose these people s respect they even commented that i had what it took to come and talk with them and i did nice work in there devp. I told them that i didnt feel resp. but the best soultion was to call my ins. agent that what ever they decided i would go with but i would not make a cash payment because that admits guilt. I called my ins. agent and he called them and ttold them no way was i liable call the other guy if any one. I didnt not have a contract with that guy as a sub cont so tough ****. Also it was there eq. it broke so fix it your self these things happen. I felt for them but i was just a guy buying dirt and they left the truck driver run the machine i never told him to. Also there was no spin marks where he was ramming in to the pile of top soil and that would still be hard to do a lot of damage just loading top soil. They stated the gear pump was ruined and the cylinder was bent i think it was time for the machine to brake. I learned a lesson here i wont even borrow any thing any more i will rent if needed and sure never run any one elses equiptment.
  2. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    He broke a hydraulic line and the gear pump blew?

    Uh, ok...Someone is trying to take you to the cleaner. Its probably a $50 at the most line.

    I don't think your responsible, but this is a good lesson to learn as far as operating other peoples equipment.

    I've seen the same thing happen here, another contractor borrowed a backhoe and backed it into yet another contractors dump truck, ruining the radiator. There was a lot of finger pointing on that one too.
  3. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,420

    Agreed, I think they are blowing smoke up your a**. What kind of shape was the equipment in to begin with? I know areas that are profitable/good to work in are ones you don't want to pi$$ off but possibly they exaggerated the repair items? This and workload is exactly why I finally bought the machine I have now, I didn't feel comfortable with having an arrangement with another local contractor. When something goes bad in situations like this, and they eventually do, rarely does anybody come out on top. We rent equipment we can't financially justify keeping on hand.
    Good luck to ya Mike, keep us posted on the results.
  4. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,454

    I too have been in this boat.....What I would do right now, just in case, is go take pictures of the site, dirt pile, hydraulic puddles on the ground, all angles of the equipment as it sits......you get the drift.....shoot a whole roll of film of every little part of that machine. Do this as soon as possible. No need to tell anyone....just hold on to the pictures just in case....

    If it was just a hose that broke, I'd offer to buy them a hose and install it myself. If they want a new back-hoe and get legal with you.....at least you have the pictures to help with your point of view.
  5. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Don't matter what condition the machine was in, you made the suggestion and recommendation that the driver could operate equipment. It just happen to break when he was using it. Thats why you don't borrow equipment it cost you twice as much as buying or renting since you should have it fixed at your cost and you still don't own the machine. It also sounds like your trying to hang the driver out when he was doing you a favor.
    If you don't pay I bet you get screwed over by the developers and the trucker and he will be talking to the other trucks you hire. Your in a lose-lose situation
  6. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    Okey, i didnt borrow the hoe. The hoe belonged to the develpment there employee told the truck driver to go ahead and load. I only told them that this guy was an experienced operater it was up to them. I left and didnt even know what would follow.
  7. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    I think the developer's teeth a brown because there is no way a gear pump is going to fail from a blown hose. How is a cylinder going to get bent digging topsoil.

    Around here if a developer gets a bad name it spreads so fast he will never get a contractor back on their site. It sounds like the developer is a idiot.

    I don't know what safety plate you are talking about ?

    What is the backhoe is it some old POS ?

    You can't let the truck driver take the blame for the problem you hired him. If you let him get stuck with the problem then you will get a bad name.

    Tell the developer you want you want to have a second opinion on repairs because you feel your getting ripped off.
  8. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    No i am not trying to hang the driver in any means. If legally he is at fault then his bosowner would be liable. I feel other things generated and me and the excav. ( truck ) were the scape goats. All of this damage did not arise from a broken line. There making good money selling dirt and should of had a person running there eqpt. They gave this man permission at the time but felt different after the situation. I would gladly offer some money for leg. repair gut i think they are going a little far. The truck drivers owner of company told them to kiss his ass. Yes, i think it is loose loose for me.
  9. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,454

    I've gotta agree with GravelRat......it's not the truck driver's deal. Take the heat off him.....it's between you and the developer/builder.
  10. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    I m talking about the plate under the arm even skid steers have them so when you raise the arm to work on machine it wont come down. Normally there is a pin holding it in, this one had a piece of wire somebody else did not replace pin when it became missing. No im not let the driver take blame, they want to knock the driver saying he abused machine i know him and he would not do that. I think they just want some one to pay for an overhaul of there machne.

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