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Small business facing legal action. Advice needed

(12 Posts)
Fullsteamahead Mon 05-Feb-18 19:33:14

I run a small bakery business from rented kitchen. Around 7 months ago there was a small fire in the kitchen which happened due to the appliance failure. No one was hurt, fire alarm went off, fire brigade arrived and got the situation under control. The kitchen suffered some smoke damage which I subsequently thoroughly cleaned.
Several months went by and all of a sudden in October I started to get demands from the board of trustees who manage the entire building for the call out of the fire security company (unrelated to fire brigade) who manage their fire security. The bill includes call out charge and cost of replacement of one smoke alarm sensor.
I must admit the fire really shook me and it took me a while to mentally recover from it. Being a responsible business owner, I decided to review my insurance policy and changed to a different provider with better cover.
Therefore, when the demands started in October I couldn't even claim on my insurance as by this time I had already changed the provider.
Also, in the six months preceding the incident I had never seen this fire security company in the building doing any checks on the above mentioned fire sensors, which begs the question of how does one know if the sensor was damaged by the smoke caused by the fire or if the sensor was actually not functioning at all at the time of incident?
With this in mind I requested the trustees to provide me with the detailed fire report requesting confirmation of the fire sensor failure. The trustees refused to provide this and have now threatened me with legal action if I do not pay the bill within 14 days.

Can anyone with legal experience please shed a light on where I stand with this. If I am accountable, I'm happy to pay the bill. But I am really upset about the way they have handled the situation leaving me in the position of having to pay out of my own pocket when it all could have been prevented by claiming on insurance at a time of incident.

Thanks in advance.

Lichtie Mon 05-Feb-18 19:36:39

What kind of insurance policy did you have. Changing provider doesn't necessarily effect your ability to claim.

senua Mon 05-Feb-18 19:37:23

Who did the appliance belong to - you or them?

Fullsteamahead Mon 05-Feb-18 19:56:49

I assumed I wouldn't be able to claim retrospectively?

The appliance was mine

prh47bridge Mon 05-Feb-18 22:20:45

Pass this to the company that insured you at the time of the fire if they are alleging that is what caused the fire sensor to fail. The fact you are now insured with someone else is irrelevant. You can still claim on your old policy.

Collaborate Mon 05-Feb-18 23:54:51

They can't just sue you in 14 days. they have to set out their case in full, and supply all documents in support (which would include the report you mention - if it exists).

GreenTulips Tue 06-Feb-18 00:01:38

Yes ring the company you were insured with

Some legal claims take years to come up - 6 in the event of injury

You were covered at that time and didn't report the damage .... you should've done - however they may offer legal cover to help you

AlexanderHamilton Tue 06-Feb-18 00:02:07

Refer to your previous insurer. Changing insurers makes no difference.

Collaborate Tue 06-Feb-18 07:25:16

6 in the event of injury

A claim for damages for personal injury must be issued within 3 years.

LtGreggs Tue 06-Feb-18 07:28:12

Also - join the FSB. They have a free legal advice line and various support for small businesses, for exactly this kind of situation. It's about £180 a year and gives me lots of peace of mind - even if I've only called them about maybe 4 issues in 8 years.

Fullsteamahead Tue 06-Feb-18 16:20:05

Thank you all very much for your help, it's much appreciated

MidniteScribbler Thu 08-Feb-18 02:23:56

If you have cover with Company X and it expires on the 12th of June, and you start a new policy with Company Y on 13th of June, but are robbed on the 12th of June, then you still deal with Company X.

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