Do I have to pay for a botched cable install or does the cable company?

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Do I have to pay for a botched cable install or does the cable company?

I moved in a rent-a-room situation. The owner told me that  if I wanted internet, that I should have it installed. The cable company did so, however they ran the cable under the trailer dislodging the metal footing around the trailer. They did not close the space and let animals in and into the walls. They had an order to bury the cable but chose not to. The owner hired an exterminator and stated that she would not pay for this. Am I liable or is the cable company?

Asked on December 5, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The answer is, you're both liable potentially--you to the owner, the cable company to you. The cable company damaged (let animals in) the owner's property, at your request or instructions. That makes you liable, since people are liable for the actions of those they hire and/or otherwise cause to do work. However, the cable company did the work both negligently (or unreasonably carelessly) and in breach, it seems, of a contract (violation of work order). That makes them liable to you. You should be able to sue (potentially in small claims court, to same money) the cable company, but may have to first pay the owner yourself--though you could let him/her know that you are trying to recover from cable and see if he/she will at least wait for awhile to give you a chance to do so. Good luck.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would try and sue the cable company and see what happens.  I would call and complain that the job was done improperly and against the work order provided.  If you have to pay for the damage to the trailer I would also sue for that.  Take pictures of the job as is and if you have a copy of the work order, keep is safe.  If the amount is under the legal limit for small claims then I would indeed sue there and try and keep your costs down.  Make sure that all your evidence is solid: that the exterminating bill is in your name or show that you paid it (if it is in your landlord's name then she may have to sue or give you a power of attorney) as well as the bill for the damage to the trailer.  You really have nothing to lose by suing and a lot to gain.  Good luck.


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