My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: NC
What a saga! Hopefully I’m in the right spot, a minor but academically interesting legal situation, I could use friendly advice. We are property owners and have a tenant in one of our homes. May 25th a landscaper hired by the neighbor of our property to remove trees, bumped into an electrical line hanging across the street with their back hoe (they lifted it to far into the air). This pulled the wire about two feet down, which pulled the telephone pole and caused it to lean slightly, this pulled on the electrical wire going from the pole to our house. Domino effect. It partially ripped our power mast out of the house, shattered insulators, etc. The tenants were home, felt “shaking” in the house, went outside, saw damage (bent pole) got the contact info of the business, got a “gosh, I’m really sorry” and called me.
Here’s where the fun starts and where it is interesting legally.
We called the power company’s “down power line” number. They came out, said “it’s beat up but safe, we’re not fixing the pole, hire an electrician to fix your house”. We called an electrician who came out and charged us a visit and said “lines are hanging really low across the street, I’m not happy with it but I can’t touch utility lines”. We scheduled an appointment with him at his next available time (that was 10 days later) to fix the mast. We also called the power company and told them our electrician didn’t like the look of the utility lines, which were hanging low across the street. We got a “they are fine, not our problem, leave us alone” kind of response. We opened a claim with our insurance. Fast forward 10 days to the morning we are actually getting the power mast on our house replaced. A moving truck that is 13.6 feet high (we called the company for that fact) runs into the sagging utility wire (we complained about) that’s only 10 feet off the ground and rips the whole telephone pole out, drags it down the street, along with our power mast. The amount of damage is now quadrupled. Police are called, they make a report and give us the “here's yoru report number, this is a civil matter" talk then went on their way.
Thanks for reading the saga and sticking with me, here’s the question. The landscaping company has denied liability because the $1500 in initial minor damages is irrelevant since there’s now much more damage and they didn’t cause that. The property owner that hired the landscaping company isn’t returning calls, apparently they feel no part of this is relevant to them or think the same thing as the landscaping company. Our electrician says (yes, I know, legal advice from an electrician) that the power company is at fault because they didn’t “make this safe”. The rental truck company denied our claim because the moving company "didn't get insurance". The moving company has insurance but their adjuster says "their vehicle is not at fault for striking lines" because 1) it was too close the the ground (power company or cable company's fault) and it was perviously damaged (landscaper's fault). We opened a claim with the power company, power company denied first claim and said they didn’t have adequate time to repair this. We appealed. They said "oops, we did have enough time but we're not at fault because we believe the first contact was made with cable television wire and not the actual power line, it's the cable company's fault". Also, our insurance company (home owners) denied our claim because the house "wasn't secure against future damage" even though we hired an electrician and the power company said it was safe.
So "Liability Trivia" who is at fault and get's to hang out with me in small claims court? The landscaper that ran into the pole, the home owner that hired the now-missing landscaper, the power company who didn't fix a dangerous situation and multiplied damages, the driver of the truck, the company that employs the driver of the truck, or the cable company who had no idea their lines were sagging but had their wire hit a millisecond first because it was 12" lower? Or me? I think I'm a negligence free party but am I at fault in some way and should let this go? Everyone has either not responded to my claim or denied it.