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Possible dispute with neighbours

(10 Posts)
DoWallsHaveEars Wed 04-Nov-09 14:47:07

I scraped my neighbours' wall with my car on the way out of my drive. The scrape on my car is small (less than an inch) and it is paint only - no denting. However, half the low wall (foot or so high) has collapsed. It has come down in linked sections of brick.

I am planning to come clean with the neighbours but believe my liability is very limited since the wall must have been in very poor condition to start with. The damage to my car is minimal and to knock down that number of bricks on a wall in decent condition I would expect to have large dents. I drive a regular family car btw not a Hummer. Also I was going slowly because I have to. Our drive is on an incredibly steep incline and it just isn't possible to get any speed up. It is also very short.

H is in a total flap about it. I think we might be able to offer a small contribution but shouldn't be liable for the whole thing and they should probably be grateful there was no one injured had it collapsed at another time. H has taken a few photos just in case. They are a couple and she is quite nice but he is a bit alpha male though we have never had any bother with them before over 10 years of living here.

Any thoughts really gratefully received smile

PestoPyrotechnicsMonster Wed 04-Nov-09 14:50:18

I would pay to get it fixed. It was your fault.

LaurieScaryCake Wed 04-Nov-09 14:50:50

It sounds easy to repair though, mix up a bucket of concrete, repair it and then repaint it.

If more complicated than that your home insurance might cover it.

I think you do have to rebuild it (or get someone else to).

nancy75 Wed 04-Nov-09 14:51:44

you drove into it, it is your fault, you should pay for it - i cant believe you would even question it.

LIZS Wed 04-Nov-09 14:52:22

agree , it was your action, however slight, which caused it to collapse. Offer to pay or repair it.

Hassled Wed 04-Nov-09 14:54:54

They should be able to claim on their insurance and you can pay their excess for them. Or, ring your car insurers and see if you're covered. Might affect premiums, though.

GooseyLoosey Wed 04-Nov-09 14:56:01

I would 'fess up asap and offer to pay for the lot. Not worth the resulting bad feeling if you argue over it.

MissAnneElk Wed 04-Nov-09 15:01:33

You either have to pay up or allow them to claim from your insurance company. Hassled, if I were the neighbour I wouldn't want to claim on my own insurance because it's not just the excess, a claim will affect the following years premiums.

Aussieng Thu 05-Nov-09 18:16:02

OP, I think that strictly you have a point. The legal issue is whether and to what extent you caused the damage and whether you can prove this. If you make your points to them, they might agree that you are not entirely liable, they might not. The issue is much less legal than pragmatic however.

If your neighbours do not accept your postion then it depends how far they chose to take it and how far you chose to defend it. They cannot claim from your insurance company directly. They can either claim from their insurance company who will (depending on what level of insurance cover they have) either just cough up (probably charging your neighbours an excess which they could try to sue you for or invoke their legal costs cover for if they have it) pursue you (ie sue you) on their behalf or tell them it is nothing to do with the insurance company leaving them to sue you themselves. If the insurance company pursues you or if alternatively they decide just to sue you directly then you will either have to deal with it yourelves or call in your own insurance company to defend the claim (household or car insurance depending on what cover you have). They may well take the view it is not worth defending and agree to pay up and charge you an excess or defend it - negotiations, stress etc etc etc.

So it depends if you want the legal answer or the pragmatic answer. A damaged 1 foot wall is not the end of the world and there are plenty of builders around doing "no job too small" type jobs at the moment. Try to resolve it amicably. At the end of the day the wall was standing and now thanks ultimately to you, it is not.

AxisofEvil Thu 05-Nov-09 19:18:07

I have a degree of sympathy but frankly if I were your neighbour I'd be quite anoyed if you came around and stated your case in the manner you're suggesting in the OP - I'd think that you were not facing up to your responsibilities and were trying to deflect blame onto me.

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