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I think everyone here is totally wrong on how to deal with this. Your neighbor contracted with the septic tank guy. Your neighbor is liable for damages that his contractors do to your property. Walk over and knock on your neighbors door. Explain to him the situation and that you tried to handle it yourself, however the septic tank guy was a total A-hole. Tell your neighbor that he should step up and pay for your damages. If he refuses, sue your neighbor. You will be able to claim on his homeowners insurance. Don't even mess with the septic tank guy.

Oh, the more I think about it, the septic tank guy is probably right too. Somebody he has never heard of sends him an e-mail saying he owes him $110. Yeh, when I get those e-mail's I just delete them. You have no dealings with the septic tank guy. He doesn't know who you are and if you didn't have your DVR, you wouldn't know who he is. The proper way to get this fixed is to get your neighbor to pay for the damage. It can then be your neighbors problem to try to get reimbursed from the septic tank guy.

wd said:   I think everyone here is totally wrong on how to deal with this. Your neighbor contracted with the septic tank guy. Your neighbor is liable for damages that his contractors do to your property. Walk over and knock on your neighbors door. Explain to him the situation and that you tried to handle it yourself, however the septic tank guy was a total A-hole. Tell your neighbor that he should step up and pay for your damages. If he refuses, sue your neighbor. You will be able to claim on his homeowners insurance. Don't even mess with the septic tank guy.

Yeah, I'm sure he wants to start trouble with his next door neighbor, who had nothing to do with this........ other than live next door and hired a "crappy" septic co.

Why sour the relationship with the neighbor over $110? Just sue in small claims, its very easy to file and you will win, case closed. Come back when you need help collecting.

wd said:   I think everyone here is totally wrong on how to deal with this. Your neighbor contracted with the septic tank guy. Your neighbor is liable for damages that his contractors do to your property. Walk over and knock on your neighbors door. Explain to him the situation and that you tried to handle it yourself, however the septic tank guy was a total A-hole. Tell your neighbor that he should step up and pay for your damages. If he refuses, sue your neighbor. You will be able to claim on his homeowners insurance. Don't even mess with the septic tank guy.
That's a route to go, but why have a pissed off neighbor also? I don't have a clue about the legality of going after the neighbor, but to me seems like the straight case is to file a police report for trespassing and hire a lawyer to do the legwork and sue the A-hole. He had a chance to settle amicably, I say make him pay lawyer fee and all at this point.
OP - If you call the water company, see if they can estimate the extra water that occurred. Probably minor $ amount, but never hurts to check.

suezyque said:   wd said:   I think everyone here is totally wrong on how to deal with this. Your neighbor contracted with the septic tank guy. Your neighbor is liable for damages that his contractors do to your property. Walk over and knock on your neighbors door. Explain to him the situation and that you tried to handle it yourself, however the septic tank guy was a total A-hole. Tell your neighbor that he should step up and pay for your damages. If he refuses, sue your neighbor. You will be able to claim on his homeowners insurance. Don't even mess with the septic tank guy.

Yeah, I'm sure he wants to start trouble with his next door neighbor, who had nothing to do with this........ other than live next door and hired a "crappy" septic co.


Yeah. For $110 that wasn't their fault, I wouldn't burn bridges with the neighbor. But I certainly would pursue some random septic guy who actually is at fault, and you have no intention of ever dealing with or needing in the future.

If we were talking about a larger claim, sure... But a good relationship with your next door neighbor is probably worth more than $110.

You are not burning bridges with your neighbor. If your neighbor refuses to pay and turns out to be a A-hole too, then he is the one burning bridges. I suspect your neighbor will pay the money to make sure he keeps you as a happy neighbor. And yes it is your neighbor's fault. He should have hired competent responsible contractors rather than incompetent rude ones. In my opinion, your neighbor is the primary party responsible for the damages and the only one you should be pursuing.

I'd just leave the neighbor out of it completely. The only bad thing is the next time they try to get their septic system pumped out, they might have to call someone else.

It's embarrassing the company wouldn't just give the $110.

Isn't the better answer to let the insurance companies fight it out? File a claim with your homeowners insurance, even though this may be below the deductible. They'll contact the septic company and their insurer, and they'll work it out.

marabout said:   I understand why the septic guy isn't too happy about paying. He could have sent his guys back out there to fix it and it'd only cost him a few bucks in parts that he probably already had on the truck. Instead, the OP overpaid someone else to fix it then contacted the septic guy for reimbursement. That's ok, but the normal thing to do with things like this (with contractors, tradespeople, etc,) is to contact the party who did damage before it gets fixed and give them the opportunity to fix it. So even though the septic guy knows he'll end up paying, he's just mad aout it and is going to make the OP work for it. Bummer of a situation.

The "normal" thing. Ha ha ha.

There is your opinion, my opinion, and the facts. Your opinion of what is normal is not normal.

arla said:   Isn't the better answer to let the insurance companies fight it out? File a claim with your homeowners insurance, even though this may be below the deductible. They'll contact the septic company and their insurer, and they'll work it out.
Not quite. Your ho insurer will not pursue people for you. What they do is pay valid claims , then , only if they pay out, they will pursue subrogation

If they pay nothing , they won't collect from other responsible parties for you.


Op will end up with a claim on his clue report and $0 paid bc it's below his HO deductible

arla said:   Isn't the better answer to let the insurance companies fight it out? File a claim with your homeowners insurance, even though this may be below the deductible. They'll contact the septic company and their insurer, and they'll work it out.

Isn't this dangerous advice?

I thought I read about some kind of underground insurance network that dings you every time you open a claim and factors it into the magical algorithm that comes to you in the form of a premium.

But then again I have found myself reading FWF while a little bit tipsy before.

It's true , see my response above

golf247 said:   wd said:   I think everyone here is totally wrong on how to deal with this. Your neighbor contracted with the septic tank guy. Your neighbor is liable for damages that his contractors do to your property. Walk over and knock on your neighbors door. Explain to him the situation and that you tried to handle it yourself, however the septic tank guy was a total A-hole. Tell your neighbor that he should step up and pay for your damages. If he refuses, sue your neighbor. You will be able to claim on his homeowners insurance. Don't even mess with the septic tank guy.
That's a route to go, but why have a pissed off neighbor also? I don't have a clue about the legality of going after the neighbor, but to me seems like the straight case is to file a police report for trespassing and hire a lawyer to do the legwork and sue the A-hole. He had a chance to settle amicably, I say make him pay lawyer fee and all at this point.
OP - If you call the water company, see if they can estimate the extra water that occurred. Probably minor $ amount, but never hurts to check.
If the relationship with the neighbor is good, you could ask him to tag-team the contractor. If I were the neighbor, I'd gladly call the contractor all freaked out about how my neighbor was going to sue me because of his employee's inability to drive, etc, etc. It isnt going to hurt any, and the contractor may be more willing to make good with an actual customer.

Al3xK said:   Since it's a cut & dry case, you might consider hiring an attorney to sue because they'd have to pay attorney's fees as well. I assume you mean that you think the OP might be entitled to collect attorney's fees from the contractor?

Assuming this happened in the US and not, for example, in the UK, under what legal theory do you believe he would be entitled to collect attorney's fees?

Yeah, im not going to deal with a neighbor. I know her and she has nothing to do with this.
The driver never stopped to look at what he did. Just kept driving. Also, i didn't know exactly what
happened Saturday morning until after i called the irrigation
company. I first thought some drunk idiot drove through my yard
but then i looked at the video.

Keep on calling the dude. Everyday!

wd said:   I think everyone here is totally wrong on how to deal with this. Your neighbor contracted with the septic tank guy. Your neighbor is liable for damages that his contractors do to your property. Walk over and knock on your neighbors door. Explain to him the situation and that you tried to handle it yourself, however the septic tank guy was a total A-hole. Tell your neighbor that he should step up and pay for your damages. If he refuses, sue your neighbor. You will be able to claim on his homeowners insurance. Don't even mess with the septic tank guy.
I don't see how the neighbor is liable. Sure they hired this contractor and might be liable for damages that occurred as a direct result of the contracted work. An example where they would be liable would be if they hired some tree trimmers and they ended up dropping a limb on the neighbor's house. But this damaged occurred not while work was being done, but instead after the contracted work was completed and the employee was driving the truck down a public road. It appears from the screen shots that the driver left the neighbors property, thus concluding the contracted work, and then drove onto OPs property. It is similar to you suing the neighbor because his painter hits your mailbox as he is driving up to the house--the accident is completely unrelated and outside of the contracted work.

Your neighbors ho policy should pay for "negligent hiring " which is a liability claim , There is no deductible .

But i agree it makes little sense to bother your neighbor

Lappie said:    I have a DVR system that monitors the front of the house
This is pretty awesome that it paid off in an unexpected way (I am guess it is mostly used to prevent/detect burglary). Off topic, can you share the details on what kind of system you use?

biomedeng said:   Lappie said:    I have a DVR system that monitors the front of the house
This is pretty awesome that it paid off in an unexpected way (I am guess it is mostly used to prevent/detect burglary). Off topic, can you share the details on what kind of system you use?


What he said.....I'd love to know who the jerks are that put extra pieces in inappropriate spots on my kid's snowman last year.

Simple. Get the Contractor's License # and find out from the state who the insurance company is that carries his bond. Call the septic company and leave a message to the effect that if the issue is not resolved immediately you will have no choice but to go after his bond. That will get you a pretty quick response. LOL

Also, file a police report as a hit and run with property damage. All hit and run reports are assigned to a detective that will investigate the claim. The driver will be charged with a misdemeanor and the owner of the business will be notified. Once the police contact him, things will get real serious for him and his employee. The police will also obtain the vehicle insurance info and include that in the report which is another avenue you can pursue.

Personally I'd keep the neighbor out of the loop, wasn't their fault and it's impossible to screen companies to make sure their driver won't drive over your grass on accident. No amount of due diligence could have prevented this.

cristinaaaron said:   biomedeng said:   Lappie said:    I have a DVR system that monitors the front of the house
This is pretty awesome that it paid off in an unexpected way (I am guess it is mostly used to prevent/detect burglary). Off topic, can you share the details on what kind of system you use?


What he said.....I'd love to know who the jerks are that put extra pieces in inappropriate spots on my kid's snowman last year.

Uhhh
That would have been me.
Sorry about that

Why can't you just go after the company that provides the liability insurance on his fleet? Surely the trucks are insured...

truck did it... the truck insurance should pay. leave the neighbor out of it. he didn't do anything and had no control over what happen. sue and put in your time wasted too. let the judge decide.

You might try calling the policy department and filing a report. Although it's a stretch, inquire if property damage caused by motor vehicle justifies an accident report, at which time you could extract the automobile liability insurance from the septic companies vehicle and pursue the claim in that manner.

In most states, a hit and run criminal charge requires intent. That does not dismiss the civil liability of it, but it's almost impossible to prove that (criminally) they knew they caused actual damage. No prosecutor is going to touch it, but the cops may fill out a report for the general accident.

While generally it would be inappropriate to repair it without giving them a chance to correct it first, I can understand you did not originally have knowledge of the offender, but they may not know this. The reason they probably would have sent someone out is because fixing them is not that difficult.

This is awesome. You have an open and shut case. You tried to do the right thing and the owner was a xxxx over $110??? So yah, sue him. You pretty much have an obligation to do so now.

Don't let bad people be bad people when you have it within your means to prevent it. Chances are if everybody this dirt bag deals with stepped up to the plate he'd be out of business.

tolamapS said:   marabout said:   I understand why the septic guy isn't too happy about paying. He could have sent his guys back out there to fix it and it'd only cost him a few bucks in parts that he probably already had on the truck. Instead, the OP overpaid someone else to fix it then contacted the septic guy for reimbursement. That's ok, but the normal thing to do with things like this (with contractors, tradespeople, etc,) is to contact the party who did damage before it gets fixed and give them the opportunity to fix it. So even though the septic guy knows he'll end up paying, he's just mad aout it and is going to make the OP work for it. Bummer of a situation.

The "normal" thing. Ha ha ha.

There is your opinion, my opinion, and the facts. Your opinion of what is normal is not normal.


It's normal around here (non-gated community northern california beach town, where we prefer the friendly approach over the confrontational one). I would have picked up the phone and said, "hi, I live next door to the house you guys serviced yesterday and it looks like your truck accidentally ran over one of my sprinkler lines and I'd like to get it fixed. I can leave that zone off for a day or two, but that's about it. How do you guys usually handle this sort of thing?" Maybe they want to fix it, maybe they want you to just send the the receipt. But this approach should lead to a much faster resolution than the small claims route the OP is now stuck with.

It's a broken sprinkler line. Not worth turning into a big deal!

I would spend $1k to get $110 just for the satisfaction.

marabout said:   It's a broken sprinkler line. Not worth turning into a big deal!

The business owner is choosing to turn this into a big deal, not the OP. Business owner is the one who challenged the OP to sue. OP shouldn't have to jump through hoops to get his damage repaired. It's not like OP doesn't have the receipt and is asking for $1000 to repair.

You ever see the movie "Falling Down?"

skwiggey said:   Why can't you just go after the company that provides the liability insurance on his fleet? Surely the trucks are insured...

He can make a claim against the truck insurance but they can just refuse to pay until sued.

At least in CA , you don't sue the insurer. You sue the company , and the insurer pays if their insured is determined to be responsible

Isn't this crazy? How about if the neighbor is two houses down, or five houses down? What if the truck hit someone on the road? I think the neighbor's insurance should come into play only if as part of doing the job there is damage but not during driving.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Your neighbors ho policy should pay for "negligent hiring " which is a liability claim , There is no deductible .

But i agree it makes little sense to bother your neighbor

marabout said:   tolamapS said:   marabout said:   I understand why the septic guy isn't too happy about paying. He could have sent his guys back out there to fix it and it'd only cost him a few bucks in parts that he probably already had on the truck. Instead, the OP overpaid someone else to fix it then contacted the septic guy for reimbursement. That's ok, but the normal thing to do with things like this (with contractors, tradespeople, etc,) is to contact the party who did damage before it gets fixed and give them the opportunity to fix it. So even though the septic guy knows he'll end up paying, he's just mad aout it and is going to make the OP work for it. Bummer of a situation.

The "normal" thing. Ha ha ha.

There is your opinion, my opinion, and the facts. Your opinion of what is normal is not normal.


It's normal around here (non-gated community northern california beach town, where we prefer the friendly approach over the confrontational one). I would have picked up the phone and said, "hi, I live next door to the house you guys serviced yesterday and it looks like your truck accidentally ran over one of my sprinkler lines and I'd like to get it fixed. I can leave that zone off for a day or two, but that's about it. How do you guys usually handle this sort of thing?" Maybe they want to fix it, maybe they want you to just send the the receipt. But this approach should lead to a much faster resolution than the small claims route the OP is now stuck with.

It's a broken sprinkler line. Not worth turning into a big deal!


Newsflash for people who need a SECOND lesson to learn. They already did a poor job the first time. Do you want them to come fix your yard, and then as they are driving away, damage ANOTHER neighbors lawn and irrigation?

There is a word in the English dictionary. The first few letters are stupi. The last letter is d. Don't be one of those.

Agreed with others pointing out, no obligation to let the one who damaged your property be the one to assess and repair the damage. The owner blaming you is merely the first excuse he could find to make you at fault. Now you feel guilty for screwing him, right? That's the goal. Throw it back in his face, you would have considered a casual solution had his employees stopped and rang your bell, or left a note. By trying to sneak away and avoid responsibility, they left you no choice but to exercise your RIGHT to call a professional of your choice. Also, as another points out, there are other costs involved. Does the soil need to be re-leveled? New seed? Any possible remaining hidden damage? The previously mentioned additional water bill? You generally can't recover your time either, so rather than spend 4 hours fixing it yourself, pay someone, and get the perpetrator to pay for them. Lastly, one could argue the initial 'trespass' was an accident - but make sure. Perhaps the driver was just being a dick. Some people are like that. Even so, by driving away without assessing the damage, or even without concern there might be damage (they do work for a sewage company - they certainly have professional knowledge about weight on lawns or non-road surfaces damaging underground facilities and equipment) - anyway, their actions and lack of concern could be considered gross negligence, or possibly malice for these mentioned reasons. In NY, professionals are held to a higher standard than the general public, and if you can show it's *likely* that gross negligence or malice was a factor, you're entitled to punitive damages. You MUST document everything. Keep those videos. Tape record (if it's legal) your phone calls, or use emails and certified mail. Do file a police report - you had damage to your property and they ran off to avoid detection. And if you sue, ask for every single penny, for any reason - even if you only THINK your entitled to it. Small claims courts understand that lay people are not legal experts. If you present your arguments well, the judge will take on board what you've said, and apply the laws correctly. You generally wont get anything you don't ask for. Finally, yes, the guy is a business man, and a human. He knows very well if he says yes, then you get your money. If he says no, blames you, and hangs up, there's atleast a chance he wont have to pay anything. In fact, he's surely learned time and again, this is often true. If you have the time, get your money back.

I am very mad and I just need some guidance here. Should I just let the whole thing go.
Screw that let it go stuff. They say sue, so you need to oblige them.

Lappie said:   the company told me to "sue them" for the payment.

Pretty open and shut... give them what they want. They assume most people are not really going to sue and there is nothing you can do about it.

Edit: As mentioned by someone else, I would hire an attorney. With your video evidence you could easilly find someone to take the case. Let them pay $110 + $3,000 in attorney fees.

I would sue them for the statutory max in small claims and make them hire an attorney to show up. In my jurisdiction, a company needs to send an attorney to court. Once the attorney shows up, get your $110 plus filing fees. If the attorney does not show up, get a default judgment for the statutory max.

cristinaaaron said:   biomedeng said:   Lappie said:    I have a DVR system that monitors the front of the house
This is pretty awesome that it paid off in an unexpected way (I am guess it is mostly used to prevent/detect burglary). Off topic, can you share the details on what kind of system you use?


What he said.....I'd love to know who the jerks are that put extra pieces in inappropriate spots on my kid's snowman last year.


It was a Christmas miracle!

marabout said:   tolamapS said:   marabout said:   I understand why the septic guy isn't too happy about paying. He could have sent his guys back out there to fix it and it'd only cost him a few bucks in parts that he probably already had on the truck. Instead, the OP overpaid someone else to fix it then contacted the septic guy for reimbursement. That's ok, but the normal thing to do with things like this (with contractors, tradespeople, etc,) is to contact the party who did damage before it gets fixed and give them the opportunity to fix it. So even though the septic guy knows he'll end up paying, he's just mad aout it and is going to make the OP work for it. Bummer of a situation.

The "normal" thing. Ha ha ha.

There is your opinion, my opinion, and the facts. Your opinion of what is normal is not normal.


It's normal around here (non-gated community northern california beach town, where we prefer the friendly approach over the confrontational one). I would have picked up the phone and said, "hi, I live next door to the house you guys serviced yesterday and it looks like your truck accidentally ran over one of my sprinkler lines and I'd like to get it fixed. I can leave that zone off for a day or two, but that's about it. How do you guys usually handle this sort of thing?" Maybe they want to fix it, maybe they want you to just send the the receipt. But this approach should lead to a much faster resolution than the small claims route the OP is now stuck with.

It's a broken sprinkler line. Not worth turning into a big deal!


Marabout, it's people like you that enable these companies to be aholes. I can't believe you think that it's unreasonable for OP to sue. You are such a pushover! This guy has likely taken advantage of dozens of people in the same manner after destroying their property. Furthermore, it's only $110, so the sewer company is surely betting the OP will deem it "just not worth the hassle." Too bad you weren't the neighbor; you would probably be apologizing to the sewer company for wasting their time with your frivolous $110 (bargain) repair bill.

In summary, this clearly isn't a one-time honest mistake by this company. This is clearly a company with a history of shady practices and complete disregard for property. Yes, it's only a broken sprinkler line, but the company NEEDS to be taught a lesson. And that lesson is: You can't go through life sh1tting all over people.



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