If 1 of my company vehicles was driving down an alley to gain access to our customer’s property but caused damage to a neighbor’s property, what is our liability?

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If 1 of my company vehicles was driving down an alley to gain access to our customer’s property but caused damage to a neighbor’s property, what is our liability?

While doing so, our vehicle pulled on a phone line that was hanging too low. The phone line pulled on a neighbor’,s gutter. Our crew repaired the damage however this homeowner wants her gutters completely replaced when there was only minor, minimal damage that was repaired on site. Are we liable to replace the gutters? Our vehicle was within legal height limitations.

Asked on January 26, 2016 under Accident Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, you would only be liable, as the vehicle's owner, to repair the damage. If the damage can be repaired, you are under no obligation to replace the gutters completely--you would only have to do that if the gutter, for one reason or another, could not be satisfactorily repaired (e.g. it's some old type, model, size, etc. for which parts are no longer made and which new parts will not fit properly; therefore, to repair so it works properly, you'd have to replace). The law does not make parties spend more than is necessary to put the injured party back in the same position she occupied prior to the damage being done--so if you can repair the gutters back to their pre-accident condition, that's all you need to do.


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