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Home owner backs into my tools

Discussion in 'Business & Corporate Matters' started by jesse98178, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. jesse98178

    jesse98178 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Washington
    Hello,

    I am a general contractor in Seattle, WA. A job I was doing was going great until the home owner backed into my tools in her garage. They were in the place she told me to store them. Now she is withholding the final payment saying she is taking 800.00 off the final payment for the scratch on her car. She went on a trip and I communicated with her husband on paint colors etc. She says his name was not on the contact so he was not authorized to make any decisions and she doesn’t like the color therefore she wants to take off another 500.00. Can I sue her for the final bill or would she have a case in court?
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Yes, you can sue her.
    She will be able to assert some form of defense.
    Will she prevail?
    Maybe, maybe not.

    Sometimes it is better just to walk away and be thankful you got a couple slices of bread, even if you didn't get a loaf of bread.

    That is the call YOU must make.

    This might be an easier solution for you, MECHANICS' AND MATERIALMEN'S LIENS:

    Washington requires the “Claim of Lien” to be delivered to the Owner within 14 days of the date of filing. The Claim of Lien can be delivered by certified or registered mail, or by personal service.

    Washington law requires that a mechanics lien be enforced within 8 months from the lien's filing.
    Make sure the law allows YOU to do this, that might mean proper licensing, written contract, insurance, bonds, etc...

    Make sure you read EVERYTHING (and understand it before proceeding) before doing anything:


    Building Industry Association of Washington - How to File a Lien


    Washington Mechanics Lien Law: FAQs and Free Forms


    https://www.lni.wa.gov/IPUB/625-017-000.pdf







    Chapter 60.04 RCW: MECHANICS' AND MATERIALMEN'S LIENS

    ...
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Sure. Anybody can sue anybody for anything. If your real question is can you win, I'm leaning toward yes.

    She could certainly countersue for her car damage but I doubt that she would win.

    I hadn't thought about the lien route. It's a good idea but you'll still have to file a lawsuit within the deadline. That's what "enforce" the lien generally means.

    If your willing to sue, you might as well do it right away. Once you get a judgment it can become a lien on the property anyway, for many years to come and a judgment gives you more methods of getting your money.

    Another advantage of an immediate lawsuit is that just getting served can scare somebody into paying.
     
  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    I agree with the lien.

    It was her responsibility to check around the vehicle before backing out. Whether it was your tools or a child, she is responsible for controlling the vehicle. I suspect her complaint would not get her far.

    I suspect her gripe about the paint color is equally weak.

    Before you go to court you might have an attorney draft a demand letter that she pay in full, plus your cost for the attorney if her payment is past due.

    If she still does not pay then pursue your claim in court and file the lien.
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Of course you can. Anyone can sue anyone for anything.

    Based solely on what you wrote, probably not, but the case obviously won't be decided based solely on what you wrote here.
     
  6. Richard Marvel

    Richard Marvel New Member

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    Typically the rights you would have are determined by the Contract. In this case the contract, assuming you performed, would entitle you to payment. The concern I would have in litigating this case would be the cost of the case in light of the expenses associated with the litigation. It is possible that you might have right to recover the fees incurred in pursuing the case. You would need to consult with an attorney within your state to determine your rights pursuant to Washington State law.
     
  7. jesse98178

    jesse98178 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    As an update I let her take 800.00 of the bill just so I could get most of my money. Not having to deal with her anymore was worth it, even though I am not happy about “giving in” its better than the time and money if court, I guess it’s just part of doing business sometimes. Thanks for everyone’s advice
     

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