Do I have to pay full amount?

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Do I have to pay full amount?

I accidently damaged my neighbors fence he says he built the fence himself he sent me a letter stating that he wanted a fence company to repair the fence and when I paid the company to repair the fence he turned the service down and told me I shouldn’t have done that to write him a check. I believe he wants to repair the fence himself and pocket the extra money, can he do that?

Asked on January 2, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

IF he sues you for the damage and wins--which he presumably will, since you seem to acknowledge you were at fault in damaging the fence--he can recover the *actual* cost to repair the fence; that means that if he sues you, if he did in fact repair it himself, he could presumably only get his materials' cost, since you cannot (as a general matter) recover for your own time. 
But if he were to have it professionally repaired, if he sued and won, you'd have to pay whatever the contractor charged him.
Since you are responsible for the cost to repair, and he could get the full cost if he hires someone to do it, and being sued will itself cost you time at the very least, even if you don't hire an attorney (e.g. assume you'll lose at least 1 full workday to the court), you may wish to agree to pay him the money, as long as the amount is reasonable:  you'll be no worse off than if he hires a professional and sues you for the cost, and you'll save the time, effort, headache, etc. of litigation. If you do settle, just make sure that you get in writing that this is settlement in full and he cannot sue you for anything else.


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