Using Invoices to Prove Damages at Trial

By Jedidiah McKeehan

I often speak with individuals who desire to sue over damage to their property.  Their house, their pool, their car, etc. and they want to sue someone over the damage to their property.  Often times they are wanting to sue someone they paid to do work for them and then that work up ended being terrible and they want to sue to get their money back or repair damage done to their property.

For example, I may have a client who hired a contractor to work on their home and then after the work is complete, they realize that the work is totally worthless, or has to be redone, or is deficient in some way.  So what does a judge need to see in order to award these people money who have taken advantage of by a bad contractor?  He needs to see proof of actual damages.

Often times people will believe that having an invoice drawn up by a different contractor showing what it would cost to repair the damage is all they need to prove their case.  Unfortunately, that is not true.  An invoice by itself is complete hearsay and inadmissible in court.

In order to prove your damages in a situation like this you need an actual receipt showing that you have paid repair costs or you need an actual contractor who will come to court and testify as to what it will actually cost to repair the damage.  I am sorry, an invoice alone simply cannot get the job done in proving your damages.  You need a receipt, or a live person there to testify about damages.

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.

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