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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 118779
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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We contracted with a company to install vinyl siding. The

Customer Question

We contracted with a company to install vinyl siding. The crew he hired hit electrical lines and did damage to our property. It caused about $3000 damages which I deducted from the check I paid the company. Who is liable for the damages?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Michael Lykken, Esq replied 2 years ago.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help you with this. The first question I have is what state are you in? I am a California attorney, and there isn't any state indicated in the question.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Columbus, Ohio
Expert:  Michael Lykken, Esq replied 2 years ago.

Okay, I'll opt out so that another expert can answer. On a general basis though, the liability would fall with vinyl siding company since that company hired the installation crew.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Under OH law, the contractor who causes damage is liable to pay for all damage they caused. If the contractor is disputing you taking the money from the balance due and is threatening to place any liens, then you have to file suit against the contractor in court and place the disputed amount in the registry of the court and sue the contractor for the damage they caused. If the contractor is not disputing the payment being deducted, they are indeed liable if they caused the damage under the OH laws.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The damage was caused by the subcontractor that they hired to install. I deducted amount from the contractor as this is who I made the agreement with. He is threatening to take action against us and said we should work with the subcontractor and their insurance company.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your reply.

The contractor and sub contractor are jointly and severally liable, meaning they are both liable to you because the contractor hired the subcontractor. So your statement to the contractor is that you will hold the $3000 in escrow for him until he puts you in touch with the subcontractor he hired and they pay. Tell him since he hired the subcontractor, he is liable for him as well and he has to assist you in recovering if he wants his money or you will take him and the subcontractor both to court and let the court decide and that you would put the money in an escrow account in the registry of the court for the court to decide who gets what.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Since our contract for the siding was with the owner and not the subcontractor, I dont feel confortable working with the subcontractor's insurance company. The subcontractor's Insurance company called once and talked about sending an adjuster out but no one came out. I made the payment to the owner less the deductions for damages, provided the owner of the siding company an itemized list with receipts for damages done and items replaced. A week ago we get a letter from the subcontractor's Insurance company stating they are closing the file since we have no responded but that we have 2 years to file a claim from the date of the accident.Today we get an invoice from the owner of the siding company demanding full payment of the balance or he will take further action.Please advise
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your reply.

Unfortunately, whether you feel comfortable dealing with the sub's insurer or not, you still have to follow the proper process and procedure.

The sub is primarily liable to you, if he does not pay, the contractor is jointly and severally liable to you for the sub not paying. SO you need to inform the contractor you are holding the payment in escrow based on his joint and several liability until the matter is settled with the sub. You have to follow the procedure or you could end up losing the valid claim you have.

You had a duty to respond to the insurer and you need to do so or it can hurt your case against the contractor.