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TexLaw
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4071
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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i live in texas and i had an accident involving knocking over

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i live in texas and i had an accident involving knocking over a neighbors brick mailbox over, he had an estimate stating it would cost 452.00 but when we paid him it turns out he just did the work himself and just used cocking to put it back together which doesnt cost 452.00 dollars we have a contract stating to pay for damages amounting to that, what should i do, what can be done, if i sue can i win?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TexLaw replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

You say you have a contract? Do you mean that you signed a settlement agreement?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


i guess thats what you would call it im not fimiliar with those terms. it says that he accepts full payment for damages pertaining to his mailbox to fix it but the damages he said were there really arent and i even recorded him fixing it with cocking

Expert:  TexLaw replied 1 year ago.
Technically, you may have a claim called fraud in the inducement. However, I say that it is a technical claim because I think it is highly unlikely you would win such a claim if you brought it in court.

The reason I say that is that you damaged his property, he brought you an estimate for the repair, and you paid him in good faith, but now are angry that he decided to keep the money and repair it himself. Because the damage was to his property and you agreed with him on an amount that would satisfy his damages, he is entitled to choose not to repair at all, or to self repair, or to use all the money that you give him to repair.

It's the same principle as when you are in a car wreck. You can get an estimate and ask the other person's insurance company to pay you an amount based on that estimate to get your car fixed in exchange for a settlement and release. However, once you get the check, you are free to do with it as you please and do not have to repair your car.

Do you follow me?

Now, if he is claiming that you did damage that you actually did not do, and he added those damages into the estimate for repair, you could potentially sue him for fraudulently inducing you into entering into the settlement agreement with him. If that is the case, then I would suggest filing a small claims suit. However, I do urge great caution in doing something like that. If you file a suit and lose, it could result in the court finding that you have to pay his expenses in defending the suit.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my time on your question.

-ZDN
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4071
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
TexLaw and 4 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


verbally he said he needed new brick and a new light fixture which wasnt true so what does that fall under? he didnt buy new brick or a light fixture because there was nothing wrong with it all is in fine working order and no brick was broken

Expert:  TexLaw replied 1 year ago.
Again, it would be a "fraudulent inducement" claim. He made a representation to you that was false in order to induce you into settling a claim he had against you.

You would file small claims suit seeking the return of the money based on his fraudulent inducement. However, in a situation like this, it is going to be a hard claim to win.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


so why would that be such a hard claim to win when i have proof

Expert:  TexLaw replied 1 year ago.
You started out by stating you caused him property damage by backing into his brick post box. When that happens, he has a claim against you for the property damage. You then agree to settle the claim for what he

Is that not correct?

For you to now go to court and sue him because you believe you paid him more than it cost to repair the damage is a moot point. You've already settled the claim. This is the way a small claims court is going to look at this. He had a valid claim against you, you agreed when you paid him money, you now believe you paid him too much. But it is your responsibility to not pay him too much before he settles the claim. The court is unlikely to disturb the agreement between the parties.

When you settle a claim for property damage which you caused, its up to you to not pay more then you fell is just. A person is entitled to ask you for as much as he can, and if you agree to pay it, you are generally stuck with that deal.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

yes i know i settled on the claim, but the claim was false. so even though with that said im still stuck with that deal? before you said was some kind of fraud but now im stuck. you are kind of confusing me.


 


i have a estimate for damages that werent true


 


and even with that said


 


we had an agreement to pay for things that were damaged which were brick, a light fixture, sand and labor.


the estimate came out to however much.


but those things needed to be replaced never were damaged.


 


so i dont see how that could be valid


 


i dont see how a small claims court wouldnt see that as unjust.


 


 


 

Expert:  TexLaw replied 1 year ago.

I'm telling you that if you want to go down that path, you will need to claim "fraudulent inducement." I'm also telling you that just because you can make a claim doesn't mean you will win the claim.

You are free to listen or to not listen to what I"m saying. I'm here to answer your questions and provide you with information on which you can base your decision. I am also here to give you my insight on the way that small claims courts act, as I've been to many trials in small claims courts across Texas.

 

You know much more about your situation that I ever could. But there are things that I don't understand that give me pause about your claim.

 

Didn't you see what damage you did to the mailbox yourself?

 

When he came and presented an estimate for repairs, did you not go out and look at it yourself to see if it was true?

 

Have you spoken to him about your suspicions and demanded the money back?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


i seen the damage no brick was broken and the light fixture was disconnected and he got an estimate saying he needed new brick and a new light fixture and so on. the estimate even says " replace mailbox estimate" so we were under the impression that the mailbox needed to be replace as he told us it would need to be and yes i spoke to him about it and he said he can do whatever he wants and called the police

Expert:  TexLaw replied 1 year ago.
OK.

You're going to have to convince a small claims judge that your neighbor lied to you and that you were justified in relying on his statement. The problem is that you backed into the mail box and were asked to pay for his repairs, but you did not go and check out ahead of time if the repairs were really needed. So, you are going to have a hard time getting over the judge's questions that you were "justified" in your reliance on the misrepresentation of your neighbor.

That will be the hard part of your claim.

Again, all you have to do is file a small claims petition for the return of the money based on fraud and fraudulent inducement.

You will then go to court on the scheduled day and prove that your neighbor lied and that you were entitled to rely on his representation and that you did so to your detriment and it caused you damage in the amount of money you gave to him that you would not have but for his lie.

Please let me know if you have further questions. Please also remember to rate my answer positively as I am not paid for my time spent on your question unless you do.

Thanks and Good Luck,
ZDN
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


the man was against us having him on his property and pretty much used intimidation to get us to pay now i can see how thats going to be hard to prove and win

Expert:  TexLaw replied 1 year ago.
If the guy was a jerk and a liar, then the small claims court will see that and may find in your favor. I think its a hard case, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try it and that doesn't mean you are not entitled to a win!

You never know, the guy may not even show up to trial and you may get a default judgment against him!

Let me know if you have other questions on the process.

-ZDN
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


well i just got off the phone with the guy that gave the estimate and ive talked to him before but he failed to mention that it didnt need to be replaced and that he wanted it to be replaced...it doesnt sound like you can do that: make someone pay for what you want...


 


so he gave me an estimate on what he wanted and so im getting the man to send me a statement on that matter will this help?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


oh and i have one more question im not from texas but if i do win can i make him pay for the court fees?


 


 


 


thank you:)

Expert:  TexLaw replied 1 year ago.
Yes, that helps. It shows that the person providing the estimate was not of the opinion that you had actually caused the damage which the neighbor was claiming.

In regard to whether you may collect court fees. Yes, the winner of a small claims court case is often awarded court fees as part of the judgment. You need to specifically request these when you file your claim.

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