Who should pay for the repair of damage to a home caused by an employee of a business?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Who should pay for the repair of damage to a home caused by an employee of a business?

I purchased shrubs from a garden center/nursery and paid
them to remove old shrubs and plant the new shrubs. While
removing the shrub root, the workers employees damaged
my front stone steps. This requires hiring a mason to make
the necessary repairs. The question, whose responsibility is
it to make the arrangements for the repairs and who, must
pay for those repairs?

Asked on June 21, 2019 under Business Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The nursery and/or the employees who did the damage are liable, or responsible to pay for, the damage: the employees are liable because they negligently, or carelessly, damaged your property, and their employer is liable because under the theory of "respondeat superior" ("let the master answer"), an employer is responsible for the careless acts of its employees committed during the course of employment. If neither the workers nor their employer voluntarily agrees to pay, you could sue one or both.
While they could offer to arrange for the repairs, too, the law would not make them do that--their responsibility is to pay, not to do the work or hire someone to do the work. 

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