Tree guys broke our concrete walkway
Hi folks! I'm new, both to this forum and hiring out contractors and could really use some advice. I really wasn't sure where to post a question like this, so I opted for this section because it's really a problem with the contractor's service.
We hired a "tree expert" to cut down two diseased maples sitting on our sewer line. I thought I did everything right by checking his licenses, insurance and opting for a member of the BBB. It turns out he sub-contracts all his work. I did not know to ask this, and it's a problem. I'll explain later.
First, the two different companies that cut down the trees did so in a timely fashion, however, someone dropped a large limb on our concrete walkway and crushed it. I checked with three separate concrete guys and all three suggested either gutting the whole thing or living with it because the concrete was poured likely in the 50's and they all suspect they'd wind up cracking the surrounding concrete while trying to cut out the crushed sections. BUT they all quoted in the $300 range if we really wanted them to do it and over $1000 assuming the surrounding sections would be destroyed. Maybe I picked the 3 most expensive guys in the city, I dunno. That's the info I have. I relayed it to my "tree expert" and he not only will not fix it, but he won't even negotiate a lower price for the work done (I haven't paid him yet). I didn't sign a contract, so it's all verbal, but I also didn't sign a waiver of liability or anything, so I thought he would be responsible for damages caused by his guys. Am I wrong?
These guys also trashed my neighbor's yard, leaving gouges in her lawn and tree bits. I expected sawdust and such, but not this. I asked him if they would clean this up because she's trying to sell her home and it's part of his motto to "always leave the yard clean!", and he did the run around enough for me to catch his drift. No, he will not clean her yard. Am I again wrong to assume he should??
Last, he sub-contracted out the stump grinding to, and I am sadly not joking about this, two meth addicts staying with their elderly mother down the street. I have no idea how they even acquired a stump grinder, but it was far too small for the job, and they were fiddling with it right on our water shut off valve (it's in our lawn), so I put a stop to their "work" immediately, and discovered the "tree expert" hired them when they were, without permission, scavenging our wood on our property. I explained to him that if I wanted to save money, I would have hired random two-armed men to do the job, but I'm paying for TREE guys because I wanted TREE guys doing the work. Those two men were not TREE guys. His response: "Oh, I thought you knew them..."
I realize I cannot withhold payment even though I have damaged property and in all likelihood would have to reseed sections of my neighbor's lawn. I want to know is this not his legal responsibility? If so, can I file claims directly through his insurance if he refuses to help?