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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I'm in a bit of a pickle at the moment, it's a bit of a long explanation so bare with me.

I get home on 15/07, started running the bath for my 5 month old daughter then I got a knock at the door, it was my next door neighbour (n#1), she had come to tell me that my other neighbour's (n#2) son had scrapped his handle bar of his bike down the side of my car. I didn't believe her at first, so I went out to find a nice scratch down the front wing and drives door;

EDIT: I think the son was about 5/6 years old and was being watched over by a 8/9 year old, Mum wasn't outside when it happened.



I went straight around to n#2 and as I knocked I heard "this will be about that car". The Mum answered the door and apologised and said she would pay for the damage, I said it could be costly and took her and her boyfriend to show them the damage (you can see in the picture above, he tried to rub the mark away with his hand) and they then proceeded to tell me they will pay for it and I said I'd go to a few bodyshops to get quotes on 18/07.

I did try and polish it out, but it's definitely down to the metal;





The next day, her boyfriend come up to me and said his friend at the Ford Garage could sort it on 30/07 for £180 - which I said I'll still go to a body shop I know for a quote.

On 18/07 I got a matching quote from a preferred bodyshop - I presented the quote to the Mum and she said she will pass it on to her boyfriend.

I thought I'd give them to 30/07 as this is when he offered to sort it - heard nothing from them, so I've been around a few times this weekend and knocked but had no answer even when her car is on the drive.

As I was leaving for work this morning (01/08) the boyfriend walked past and I asked him if we could get it sorted, his reply; "We've fallen out, shes thrown my stuff out. Sort it with her."

I've checked Citizens Advice and the only thing I can find is:

Damage done by children

If a neighbour’s child causes damage to a property, a conciliatory approach to settle the matter is probably the best solution. Legally, the child can be sued for damages if they are old enough to know what they were doing. In practice, this is unrealistic since few courts would look favourably on such an action, and a child is unlikely to have much money to pay any damages. However, the parents of the child may be liable for negligence and damages if they have trusted the child with something dangerous that was beyond their capability to use responsibly, for example, an air gun. The parents may also be liable if they have failed to exercise the control that would be expected of a parent given the child’s age.
The office isn't open till 10am - I will give them a ring, but I'm really looking for real world experience or if they don't pay up (which it's looking more likely) what options do I have?

Bare in mind, the wife is on maternity leave so £180 is a massive stretch at the moment! :(

Thank you in advance,
DJ.
 

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I feel for you bro, young mums with young kids are the worst people to reason with as they usually believe their offspring is the new messiah and are a little bit loopy. I guess the only thing you can do is to keep trying to get in contact with her and to try and arrange something but you may just find you come up against a brick wall and sour your relationship with them. Next time you do get in contact you need to give her a reasonable deadline, do take into account her situation though be reasonable. If all that fails then the legal route may be the only one but be prepared to move as well.
 

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its hard 1 this ive been in similar situation more than once with both outcomes 1 i just left the marks as id had the car a while and it wasnt it top notch condition anymore another 2 times they paid the bill and once i paid myself as i knew the person involved didnt have the money to pay and it was a genuine accident but the bill wasnt that much as i know 3 friends who all have there own bodyshops and i get mates rates
maybe if it helps get the job done rather than it gets left try a compramise where they pay part and you do i know you shouldnt have to pay for others damage but you might end up with nothing
 

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It'll probably be one for small claims court if no resolution is possible. Once they get a summons, they may well realise the situation they're in and pay up before any court proceedings are necessary.
 

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If it does go to small claims court be sure to watch your legal expenses as the other party are in no way "legally obliged" to attend so even if the court favours your side there is little that can be done unless you have evidence that it was intentional damage in which cas you would have to go down criminal proceedings route to get them to pay...not to put a downer on the situation or anything but just wanted you to know where you stand legally, I wish you the best of luck getting the result you deserve. Sam
 

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Try to speak to her again.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I feel for you bro, young mums with young kids are the worst people to reason with as they usually believe their offspring is the new messiah and are a little bit loopy. I guess the only thing you can do is to keep trying to get in contact with her and to try and arrange something but you may just find you come up against a brick wall and sour your relationship with them. Next time you do get in contact you need to give her a reasonable deadline, do take into account her situation though be reasonable. If all that fails then the legal route may be the only one but be prepared to move as well.
How do you mean move?

they are the black sheep family of our neighbourhood, from her older sons riding motor bikes on the pavement and hitting golf balls at cars to her shouting and swearing at all her kids. They have had many dealings in the last 5 years with the police (by other neighbours).

This is my family home and I thought all the neighbours, even ignoring the above were good on the street.

If it does go to small claims court be sure to watch your legal expenses as the other party are in no way "legally obliged" to attend so even if the court favours your side there is little that can be done unless you have evidence that it was intentional damage in which cas you would have to go down criminal proceedings route to get them to pay...not to put a downer on the situation or anything but just wanted you to know where you stand legally, I wish you the best of luck getting the result you deserve. Sam
This is true, I'd also have to disclose the information if I moved, but still as the guy below says, maybe it's worth the threat more than following it right the way through? I assume you can cancel a small claims if they settle before hand?

It'll probably be one for small claims court if no resolution is possible. Once they get a summons, they may well realise the situation they're in and pay up before any court proceedings are necessary.
Someone on MSE said maybe say I am getting Social Services involved as she wasn't supervising her young children near a road etc etc but I don't know how much that would help...
 

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Doubtful contacting Social Services will help at all with regards to the car - but if you're concerned about the kids, by all means get them involved. They won't be able to progress repairs to your vehicle though.

My last suggestion is to drop a letter through her door with another copy of the quote, and a note with your contact details stating that if you don't hear from her within a week you'll progress it to small claims court. If she still doesn't respond, look into your options - as per your original post, the CAB can help you with information around small claims.
 

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My last suggestion is to drop a letter through her door with another copy of the quote, and a note with your contact details stating that if you don't hear from her within a week you'll progress it to small claims court. If she still doesn't respond, look into your options - as per your original post, the CAB can help you with information around small claims.
Exactly what I would do.

If you are feeling kind hearted about her situation and can afford it, offer to accept part payment up front and then she can pay rest later, this way you might have chance of getting some money instead of none
 

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I'd like to offer my opinion on the scratch.
I've been in the refinishing trade for over 10 years, and that, to me, does not look like bike handle bars, that looks like a key.

Handle bars, being round, have a much wider contact area, meaning the scratch would not be concentrated in a small thin line. Also, the chip between the door and the wing highlights this very clearly. For that to happen, the offending object would have to be small enough to get into that space.

Sorry about what happened to your car, it's going to be difficult dealing with this, regardless which method you choose to take. Good luck!
 

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I'd like to offer my opinion on the scratch.
I've been in the refinishing trade for over 10 years, and that, to me, does not look like bike handle bars, that looks like a key.

Handle bars, being round, have a much wider contact area, meaning the scratch would not be concentrated in a small thin line. Also, the chip between the door and the wing highlights this very clearly. For that to happen, the offending object would have to be small enough to get into that space.

Sorry about what happened to your car, it's going to be difficult dealing with this, regardless which method you choose to take. Good luck!

Brake levers will make a mark like this. I've seen it myself...added to the fact that someone saw it happen, I would take that as factual, and not try to turn the event into deliberate damage!
Of course, you could always offer the kid's bike up to the car and see if it lines up ;)


Try to talk to her, give her the quote when you do, and tell her that you understand finding a couple of hundred quid isn't easy for her, but it isn't easy for you either, and the damage wasn't your fault. Personally, I would be "happy" to go 50/50 with her. I have my car parked into, dinged and leant on. It's a car that's parked in a street, and unfortunately these things do happen. Some people simply can't park, some are just stupid...but none of it is malicious. I used to get really annoyed about it, but I've calmed down over the years I guess :)
 

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i'd be fuming by now but that's me ,I'm guessing your neighbour wont answer the door anymore which means she as no intentions of settling up, write a polite letter send it (recorded delivery)and tell her you want this sorted and give her a date you want payment,if I haven't heard from you within the specified time you will leave me no choice to take this to a small claims court..your call though if you want it to go that far, i'd get cctv you say this family is a bit rough, my guessing if you make them pay a revenge attack on the car is most likely to happen..
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'd like to offer my opinion on the scratch.
I've been in the refinishing trade for over 10 years, and that, to me, does not look like bike handle bars, that looks like a key.

Handle bars, being round, have a much wider contact area, meaning the scratch would not be concentrated in a small thin line. Also, the chip between the door and the wing highlights this very clearly. For that to happen, the offending object would have to be small enough to get into that space.

Sorry about what happened to your car, it's going to be difficult dealing with this, regardless which method you choose to take. Good luck!
Definitely a bike, there were even shoe marks on the button of the wing.

Just accept that mistakes happen. Get it done out of your own pocket before it drives you mad.
Mistake happen I agree, but when it involves damaging other peoples property just leaving it will go against me in the future if it happens again.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Anyway an update, I went to see her again on 01/08 and spoke politely asked if we could sort my car and explained the dealings with her boyfriend (potentially ex, not sure) and she was very apologetic and that she would drop the money around on 02/08.

Didn't hear anything, however the missus just rang (03/08) to say she has just been around with £100 and apologises it's not all present, but give her a few weeks and she will pay the following £80.

I'll be honest I'm pretty happy, as I wasn't very hopeful.

I shall keep you up to date in the next few weeks of the final result.

Thanks again for the replies. :)
 

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Always the best way to deal with that kind of situation :smile3:
 

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+1 for the result and your patience mate, I come from a family of 8 with a single mum so know how tough it can be on them to come up with any kind of "lump sum" monies . Nice that you won't have the awkwardness as if they didn't pay if you know what I mean.....still get cctv tho if I were you to future proof yourself for these situations. 👍🏻
 

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Anyway an update, I went to see her again on 01/08 and spoke politely asked if we could sort my car and explained the dealings with her boyfriend (potentially ex, not sure) and she was very apologetic and that she would drop the money around on 02/08.

Didn't hear anything, however the missus just rang (03/08) to say she has just been around with £100 and apologises it's not all present, but give her a few weeks and she will pay the following £80.

I'll be honest I'm pretty happy, as I wasn't very hopeful.

I shall keep you up to date in the next few weeks of the final result.

Thanks again for the replies. :)
this is the thing they look to be genuine but as most will know its not easy and cheap bringing kids up it looks like they dont have the spare cash
looks like alls gonna be ok
make sure you let them know how happy you are afterwards and they wont feel as bad at having to pay for there kids damage
i have bad neighbours but i dont go out my way to make there life awkward in the same way they do with my family
i like to think im a better person than they are
 

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Always the best way to deal with that kind of situation :smile3:
Cheers buddy. :)

Good Luck getting 50% is a good start at least you can think about getting it booked in
I know, it's a bit of a weight off my mind!

+1 for the result and your patience mate, I come from a family of 8 with a single mum so know how tough it can be on them to come up with any kind of "lump sum" monies . Nice that you won't have the awkwardness as if they didn't pay if you know what I mean.....still get cctv tho if I were you to future proof yourself for these situations. 👍🏻
Exactly, I want to be able to still wave and say 'hello' when I see her, as all my neighbours are awesome where I live.

this is the thing they look to be genuine but as most will know its not easy and cheap bringing kids up it looks like they dont have the spare cash
looks like alls gonna be ok
make sure you let them know how happy you are afterwards and they wont feel as bad at having to pay for there kids damage
i have bad neighbours but i dont go out my way to make there life awkward in the same way they do with my family
i like to think im a better person than they are
I've already planned on getting her a bottle of wine and chocolates to say thank you, as I know it must be hard. I'm learning this for my self now my daughters 5 months old in 3 days!

I've got it all to come. :nerd:
 
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