I want to complain about my co-worker who broke my laptop. I bought that laptop late last year and brought it in the office to have some applications installed. I saw him playing with it and as he was about to hand it to me, he dropped it on the floor. He said that it slid off his hands. I tried to turn it on but it no longer works. I had it repaired in an accredited service center where I bought it and thereafter demanded for him to pay P7,000 which is the costs of the repair, but he declined. How should I go about this?
A person who has been injured by another on account of the latter’s fault or negligence may demand payment for the damages done. Even if there is no pre-existing contract between them, the party injured may seek remuneration.
This is in consonance with Article 2176 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines which provides that, “Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called quasi-delict x x x”
If you can establish that your laptop was damaged due to the impact when it fell on the floor, you must exert efforts to demand payment from him. It would be most ideal to demand in writing. If he still refuses to pay, you must then initiate your complaint against your co-worker before the Barangay where your workplace is located considering that the incident happened in your workplace (Section 409 (d), The Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law). The Barangay Chairman will summon both of you for a mediation hearing. If mediation efforts fail, a Pangkat ng Tagapagkasundo shall convene and explore all possibilities for you and your co-worker to reach an amicable settlement.
If despite all efforts, you fail to reach an amicable settlement during the Barangay conciliation proceedings and the Barangay issues a certificate to file action in your favor, you may submit your claim before the court by filing a small claims case against your co-worker. During the hearing, the court will give both of you the opportunity to settle the matter. If the same remains unsettled, the court will resolve based on the facts and evidence you and your co-worker submitted. Once the court reaches a decision, it shall be final and may no longer be appealable. Should the decision of the court be in your favor, you may move for the execution of the said decision so that he will be bound to pay immediately (Sections 23 and 24, Administrative Matter No. 08-8-7-SC).
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org