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I made a professional mistake not covered by my liability…

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I made a professional mistake not covered by my liability ins. Trying to settle with client. Just received what she wants and have questions about this. Need help with writing a legal binding letter as well so she won't slander me on social media and sue me.

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Ca

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Contacted my insurance co mid Jan when happened. I heard from Ins. co 2 weeks ago saying I am not covered. Send client an email asking for receipts to justify claim 2+weeks ago. I heard from her today with demands for payment by March 20th.

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Answered in 8 minutes by:
3/16/2018
Attorney Wendy
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 531
Experience: Member at Keefer & Keefer LLC
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Hello. My name is ***** ***** I am an attorney. I would be happy to help by reviewing any documents and helping you prepare a response. I will send you a premium service offer with a quote for this service of $50. If you accept this answer and I can send you the premium service proposal with these terms. If that is accepted, you can then send me anything you want me to review, I will take a look at it tomorrow and we can work on a response letter.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
What type of attorney are you? I was under the impression the fee for asking questions was what I paid for with Just Answer. So if I send you docs to prepare answer it is $50, then more help may be needed and then another $50?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Now you wish to call me for $59- WOW-I feel stupid! -scammed~

I am so sorry for any misunderstanding. If you were offered a phone call too, that is an automatically generated response from JustAnswer that is an offered extra service that you are not required to accept. Nor are you required to accept the premium offer I made to review your documents and draft your letter. I am able to answer your question, if you provide more information, as to what you may consider including in a letter, but premium services that go beyond a written answer are simply additional services I can provide. I read your inquiry to include help actually drafting the letter and I made an offer to do that. If you wish to proceed with just a written answer, can you please provide a little more information as to what happened. If not, I am happy to return you to one of my colleagues and you will owe nothing for this conversation.

Attorney Wendy
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 531
Experience: Member at Keefer & Keefer LLC
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Attorney Wendy and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Hi Wendy,
Thank you for the clarification. Verbiage on how to respond would be very helpful
Below is copy of mail sent to me after 2+weeks of asking for documentation. No copy of hauling fee- and I was there and Junk King said fee was $350.00-the counter top was a very small portion of ALL the items hauled away.
The fee for hauling the wood stand is also not documented, and did NOT fit the counter top-This counter top along with other junk was outside in the elements. I have a picture of this i can send so you can see how confusing it was for me to not haul it away.
Here is a copy of the email I received from Jackie-
Thu 3/15/2018 3:52 PMAttached please find the following:• Copy of my check to substantiating cost of 52” x 110” Quartz Slab - $1,539.75
• Price list of Quartz slabs
• Image of the slab that was destroyed and removed from my houseCheryl, a significant amount of time has passed since you created this situation and I need immediate resolution. It’s disappointing that the burden of solving this issue has been shifted to me, thus I’m requesting that if your insurance cannot cover for this incident, then I expect you to directly compensate me for the total payment outlined below no later than 3/20/18.Please note that the costs are more than fair considering the loss of rental income of $2,300/mo. as I continue to be unable to rent the space without a kitchen counter; the amount of time I’ve personally had to spend on this, and the need to bring on a new contractor to do the work as he had been slated for the job back in January. I am not asking you to reimburse me for those “damages,” however, I fully expect complete payment of the following:1. Cost of Materials + Tax: $1,539.75
2. Delivery Fee: $250.00
3. Costs incurred to break for hauling company to break-up and take my beautiful stone: $436.00
4. Cost to haul wood stand left behind to dump: $45.00TOTAL: $2,270.75Please confirm receipt of this email and intention to forward above payment to my attention immediateThank you!Jackie
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
When can I expect to hear from you Wendy?

I am reviewing now and will be in touch shortly.

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Can you briefly describe what happened to cause this situation so I can be sure I am providing you accurate information?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
client asked me to come to her home and organize it as she wished to rent ASAP-it was a mess. She proceeded to ask me to sell her on what i could do for her. This was # 1 RED Flag. She was all over the map and very agitated as her technology was not working. VERY hard to keep her focused. We decided that all the clutter in garage and outside her house was a good place to start. She proceeded to walk me around the large property and point at what she needed hauled away. This counter top was among the clutter. I had never seen it as it was hidden behind old windows and past construction debris. She did mention that I was to keep it, but with all the direction she was giving me, with NO time to tag or write down her direction I forgot. I had never heard of the Tahoe property and no idea it was to be rented until this last mail I sent you. I did make a mistake but feel she is asking for MORE- On a scale of 1-10- she is a 25.

Okay, it is always difficult to communicate with an irrational customer/person, but here is where I would start. First I would put on the very top of the letter you send her, in all caps and bold, "THIS IS FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY; NO ADMISSION OF LIABILITY IS TO BE IMPLIED OR IS UNDERSTOOD AND THIS SHALL NOT BE USED IN ANY COURT PROCEEDING" - And then the letter could look something like this:

Jackie:

I am sorry that you were not happy with my services. When you retained me to assist in decluttering and otherwise cleaning up the property, there were a number of things you mentioned in passing with little to no specific direction. As you know the property is large and there were numerous items you wanted removed in order to clean up the area. Much of the property we discussed removing was located outside the structure, exposed to the elements and likely of little value or at least losing value as it sat outside. That said, I do acknowledge that there may have been a miscommunication of the debris and items to be hauled away, and some errors could have been made.

At not time did you mention any intent to rent the property, nor is the lack of a kitchen counter something for which I believe I am responsible, since I did not remove an installed, usable countertop. In addition, information obtained directly from Junk King is contrary to the figure you provided in your correspondence. And the amount charged by Junk King was primarily for items properly removed from the property at your request. If any items were erroneously removed, they represent a small, if not negligible, portion of that fee; the rest of the fee is for legitimate removal costs. Further documentation appears to render the wood stand not usable for the slab at issue and thus I am unclear why that has been included in your claimed damages.

If an error was made, I certainly want to do what is necessary to make it right. However, I do not believe all that you requested accurately reflects my liability, if any, in this instance. I would be willing to offer you $xxx (insert amount) to fully and finally resolve all issues between us.

Obviously you want to be as amicable and accommodating as possible, since you acknowledge to me that a mistake was made. But you also want to point out where she may be inflating the damages to much more than you are responsible for.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Great start Wendy-
THANK YOU~
I need to mention that I never charged her for the work I did that day- over $400.
ALSO- she has threatened to slander me on social media-I have a phone message that is SO.. nasty, it is scary.
I will also need something legally binding so she does not do this, and a release from further prosecution, and her suing me if this does not get what she wants.
I have copied your letter and made some changes- let me know what you think.
Your assistance has been helpful.Jackie:I am sorry that you were not happy with my services. When you retained me to assist in decluttering and otherwise cleaning up the property, there were a number of things you wished for me to accomplish and was given no time to tag items or write anything down. As you know the property is large and there were numerous items you wanted removed in order to clean up the area. Much of the property we discussed removing was located outside the structure, exposed to the elements and likely of little value or at least losing value as it sat outside. That said, I do acknowledge that there may have been a miscommunication of the debris and items to be hauled away, and some errors could have been made.At not time did you mention any intent to rental property, nor is the lack of a kitchen counter something for which I believe I am responsible, since I did not remove an installed, usable countertop. In addition, information obtained directly from Junk King is contrary to the figure you provided in your correspondence. And the amount charged by Junk King was primarily for items properly removed from the property at your request. If any items were erroneously removed, they represent a small, if not negligible, portion of that fee; the rest of the fee is for legitimate removal costs. Further documentation appears to render the wood stand not usable for the slab at issue and thus I am unclear why that has been included in your claimed damages.If an error was made, I certainly want to do what is necessary to make it right. However, I do not believe all that you requested accurately reflects my liability, if any, in this instance. I would be willing to offer you $1,600 to fully and finally resolve all issues between us.

First, if you still have it, be sure to save that phone message just in case you need it in the future. I have revised the letter (see below) to address the defamation (slander/libel issue). There is nothing you can send to her that is itself legally binding. If she agrees to the $1600, then you would ask her to sign a settlement agreement and release; I have included that language in this letter should you choose to go ahead and ask her to sign. You have dealt with this individual and are better positioned to decide if she is more apt to sign if included here or if it is better to send it later if she accepts the offer. And, I know we had a misunderstanding about how the JustAnswer Premium Services work initially, but if you have been happy with my service and are able, I would greatly appreciate a 4 or 5 star rating. Finally, you can always reply to this email with additional questions about this situation.

Jackie:

I am sorry that you were not happy with my services. When you retained me to assist in decluttering and otherwise cleaning up the property, there were a number of things you wished for me to accomplish and was given no time to tag items or write anything down. As you know the property is large and there were numerous items you wanted removed in order to clean up the area. Much of the property we discussed removing was located outside the structure, exposed to the elements and likely of little value or at least losing value as it sat outside. That said, I do acknowledge that there may have been a miscommunication of the debris and items to be hauled away, and some errors could have been made. For that reason I did not charge you for the work I did perform.

At no time did you mention any intent to rent the property, nor is the lack of a kitchen counter something for which I believe I am responsible, since I did not remove an installed, usable countertop. In addition, information obtained directly from Junk King is contrary to the figure you provided in your correspondence. And the amount charged by Junk King was primarily for items properly removed from the property at your request. If any items were erroneously removed, they represent a small, if not negligible, portion of that fee; the rest of the fee is for legitimate removal costs. Further documentation appears to render the wood stand not usable for the slab at issue and thus I am unclear why that has been included in your claimed damages.

Please also consider this a request not to make any false statements or post or share negative opinions with any third parties verbally or in writing, including any social media sites, online review sites, or other electronic media. Such postings and statements can be irreparably harmful to me and my business and would require me to consider taking further action to address them.
If an error was made, I certainly want to do what is necessary to make it right. However, I do not believe all that you requested accurately reflects my liability, if any, in this instance. I would be willing to offer you $1,600 to fully and finally resolve all issues between us.

By signing below, I hereby acknowledge that all matters between me and [INSERT YOUR NAME INDIVIDUALLY AND ANY BUSINESS NAME YOU OPERATE USING] have been fully and finally resolved. No admission of any wrongdoing has been made by either of us and the payment and terms of this letter constitute settlement of a disputed claim. By accepting payment in the amount of One Thousand Six Hundred Dollars ($1,600.00) I hereby waive any and all claims, now existing or hereinafter discovered, I had or may have against [INSERT YOUR NAME AND BUSINESS NAME] and forever release and hold them harmless, for myself, my heirs, successors and assigns and anyone else who may claim through me, and agree to indemnify them for any claims or damages hereinafter made.

Include signature line with her name underneath

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Your rating will go up to 5 stars!
One change needed in second paragraph.
This counter top was for a home in Tahoe, CA- the location it was at was in San Anselmo, CA-many miles away.
Very fishy to me that she did not have it delivered to Tahoe. No idea she even had a home in Tahoe. She will be renting her home in San Anselmo,eventually when it is rentable- When I was there it was filled with clutter-a painter was there, and many projects still to be done, plumbing, etc.
I received a text from Jackie-here is part of it- "i've lost all patience and continue to be disadvantaged and inconvenienced" "this is not up for negotiation as the actual costs are quite fair considering the damage this issue has caused."I have enclosed a pic of where this countertop was hidden.
I look forward to a reply as Jackie wants everything done NOW.
Thank you Wendy

Keep me posted on how she responds and best of luck. Let me know if you have any other questions by simply replying to this email.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Wow- was hoping you would change verbiage in the paragraph I mentioned- NOT send me best of luck~

Jackie:
I am sorry that you were not happy with my services. When you retained me to assist in decluttering and otherwise cleaning up the property, there were a number of things you wished for me to accomplish and was given no time to tag items or write anything down. As you know the property is large and there were numerous items you wanted removed in order to clean up the area. Much of the property we discussed removing was located outside the structure, exposed to the elements and likely of little value or at least losing value as it sat outside. That said, I do acknowledge that there may have been a miscommunication of the debris and items to be hauled away, and some errors could have been made. For that reason I did not charge you for the work I did perform.

At no time did you mention any intent to rent the property, nor is the lack of a kitchen counter something for which I believe I am responsible, since I did not remove an installed, usable countertop. To my knowledge, this countertop was not even intended for the home at which it was located and its delivery to this home and storage in deteriorating conditions make it difficult to justify the payment you request for it. In addition, information obtained directly from Junk King is contrary to the figure you provided in your correspondence. And the amount charged by Junk King was primarily for items properly removed from the property at your request. If any items were erroneously removed, they represent a small, if not negligible, portion of that fee; the rest of the fee is for legitimate removal costs. Further documentation appears to render the wood stand not usable for the slab at issue and thus I am unclear why that has been included in your claimed damages.

Please also consider this a request not to make any false statements or post or share negative opinions with any third parties verbally or in writing, including any social media sites, online review sites, or other electronic media. Such postings and statements can be irreparably harmful to me and my business and would require me to consider taking further action to address them.
If an error was made, I certainly want to do what is necessary to make it right. However, I do not believe all that you requested accurately reflects my liability, if any, in this instance. I would be willing to offer you $1,600 to fully and finally resolve all issues between us.

By signing below, I hereby acknowledge that all matters between me and [INSERT YOUR NAME INDIVIDUALLY AND ANY BUSINESS NAME YOU OPERATE USING] have been fully and finally resolved. No admission of any wrongdoing has been made by either of us and the payment and terms of this letter constitute settlement of a disputed claim. By accepting payment in the amount of One Thousand Six Hundred Dollars ($1,600.00) I hereby waive any and all claims, now existing or hereinafter discovered, I had or may have against [INSERT YOUR NAME AND BUSINESS NAME] and forever release and hold them harmless, for myself, my heirs, successors and assigns and anyone else who may claim through me, and agree to indemnify them for any claims or damages hereinafter made.

Include signature line with her name underneath

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
This looks like the same letter as Nothing has changed-What's up?
How do i change your rating?Keep going to the top and nothing~

I am actually not sure how you change a rating and it is not a big deal if it is not easy to figure out. If I figure it out I'll let you know.

In the above I added this sentence in the second paragraph: To my knowledge, this countertop was not even intended for the home at which it was located and its delivery to this home and storage in deteriorating conditions make it difficult to justify the payment you request for it.

I am also going to be offline in just a bit if I don't respond until tomorrow to any further questions or requests.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Ok- got it, sorry i missed your change- now i have to put all the wonderful work you did together and send.
Thank you~
I will let you know her response. And YES I have saved her nasty voice mail.
Have a great evening~
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Here is Jackie's response,sent Wed 3/21/2018 1:14 PMI have copied the email sent in full, then copied again with my responses-NOT TO HER, but for your information..
I hope for a reply soon.
Thank you Wendy,
Cheryl SpaterPer your previous correspondence and messages from your insurance agent, am I now to assume that you do not have liability insurance/coverage for your business?You had clearly communicated that the reason for the long wait to resolve the issue was due to the insurance company, yet you only recently asked me for an itemized accounting of the loss/damages, thus I’m very confused as to how you would have submitted the claim to begin with.
You are also well aware that the very reason I hired you was to clean up the property due to the sole fact that I was preparing it for rent. Hence, the house painter who was witness to the entire scenario that day. Additionally, that the brand new countertop was awaiting the scheduled contractor to install it in the barn. We discussed this specifically and again was overheard by the house painter who is more than willing to recount.And now, here we are over 2 months later and you’re responding without any mention of the claim you stated as filed and with a statement rife with inaccuracies and legal language. I am quite surprised and feeling compelled to escalate it to my counsel if that is the route you’d like to take.Please advise as how you’d like to proceed as the below is unacceptable and I’ve run out of patience.JackiePer your previous correspondence and messages from your insurance agent, am I now to assume that you do not have liability insurance/coverage for your business?it took the INS..Co. almost 2 months to tell me this claim was NOT covered.You had clearly communicated that the reason for the long wait to resolve the issue was due to the insurance company, yet you only recently asked me for an itemized accounting of the loss/damages, thus I’m very confused as to how you would have submitted the claim to begin with.My reply above explains this.You are also well aware that the very reason I hired you was to clean up the property due to the sole fact that I was preparing it for rent.
YES the House,and around property.Hence, the house painter who was witness to the entire scenario that day. Additionally, that the brand new countertop was awaiting the scheduled contractor to install it in the barn.There was a countertop in Barn. This is a seperate dwelling. NOT the house she wished to rent, but was slated to be where she could stay on weekends after house was rented. She is planning to move to San Francisco.
I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THE TAHOE HOUSE SHE MENTIONED IN LAST LETTER PLAYS INTO THIS.We discussed this specifically and again was overheard by the house painter who is more than willing to recount.Of course- she is paying him~No recollection of this being discussed, other than she wished to rent out house and have Barn for her space after she moved to San Francisco. She gave me TO much information and was NOT prepared.And now, here we are over 2 months later and you’re responding without any mention of the claim you stated as filed and with a statement rife with inaccuracies and legal language.I did say I was filing a claim. I did not tell her claim was denied in the response letter you helped me with and I sent.I am quite surprised and feeling compelled to escalate it to my counsel if that is the route you’d like to take.Bullying me!?Please advise as how you’d like to proceed as the below is unacceptable and I’ve run out of patience.JackieYour thoughts and guidance is needed.
Sorry for any typos~
Cheryl Spater
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Hi Wendy,
I need your help with a response to the last mail I received from Jackie.
I have the receipt from the hauling company- $350.00
I mentioned a house in Tahoe and I realize that it is not mentioned in any of Jackie's correspondence to me.
Thank you for your help, I just wish to put this behind me!

Maybe something like the following - and any other information you deem pertinent - in a response and try to make it sound personal and like you:

Jackie:

I am not intending to escalate this situation but am merely working to find a way to resolve it and put it behind us both. Upon your notice to me of the issue, I submitted a claim to my insurance company which took quite of bit of time to process and ultimately has denied coverage, as this is not the type of claim or dispute covered by my (or by many) liability insurance policies. The itemized damage request was so, now having to proceed without insurance involvement or coverage, I could determine what you were seeking and we could begin to work toward a resolution. There was no need for any itemized details to submit the claim, as the insurer first had to determine whether it was of a type (regardless of the dollar amounts) that would be covered under my policy.

I do have the receipt for the hauling company and am providing it to you, as that amount needs to accounted for in our discussions. I understand we have different recollections of what occurred when you were providing your instructions, but I assure you that if any instructions were given regarding the countertop I did not hear them with all the various things you were throwing at me all at once. You did not appear prepared during that meeting to provide clear instructions and only conveyed a desire to clean up the house and the property around the house. That someone else may have claimed to have heard them does not change the fact that I did not hear you provide any instructions on this issue. I am also now confused as to whether the countertop at issue was intended for the barn or for another home you owned, as I feel like the details see changing with each contact with you.

It was a mistake and I am working hard to find a way to settle the matter, but I also cannot agree to the damages you have demanded. If mistakes were made, I will own up to them, but I do not agree that I am wholly at fault in this situation and I believe my offer is a reasonable one under the circumstances. That said, I am willing to offer you $xxx (either the same $1600 and state that is simply all you can pay and all you believe the claim is worth or up the amount slightly and make it clear that the same release of claims would be required and that you simply do not have more to offer).

Sorry for the delay. I certainly cannot know how she will respond, but I suspect from her prior messages to you, not well. But at least another attempt to put this behind you is worthwhile.

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The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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