What to do if my dad was doing work for some contractors so he let them use a trailor of his but when they returned it the trailor was ruined?

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What to do if my dad was doing work for some contractors so he let them use a trailor of his but when they returned it the trailor was ruined?

It was worth about $1,000. They also owe him about $700 for work he did 6 months ago. I feel like they’re trying to take advantage of the fact that he doesn’t speak much English and he’s kind of a pushover.

Asked on June 21, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You have a couple of issues outlined-- that are related but may have different remedies, depending on your dad's job status.  If you dad is an employee of these people and they owe him $700 in wages, then he can file a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission for a violation of the payday laws-- for not paying wages that are due.  If your dad is an independent contractor (not an employee) then he will have to file a claim in small claims court for non-payment on services. 

With regard to the trailor.  If your dad had it insured, he may be able to file a claim with his insurance company.  Many will pay on the claim or file a suit against the people that caused the actual damage-- if his policy has this type of coverage.  If the insurance company refuses the claim (i.e. not a covered claim, or becuase your dad loaned out the trailor), then your dad could still file his own suit for damages in small claims court-- like a JP.  Some even have forms for filing a complaint.

You mention that you dad has some issues standing up for himself.  Even if you can fix these two issues, the problem will continue as long as your dad is around people like this.   You really need to work with your dad to find alternate employment or have someone with him to keep him from being abused further.  Once it starts, it usually only gets worse -- often until it's too late.


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