Filing Claims for Damages Caused by Movers
Ferguson & Ferguson
Attorneys at Law
May 28th, 2021
Filing Claims for Damages Caused by Movers
Even with proper safety measures and expert care, moving mishaps happen. For one reason or another, your items can end up damaged after a move. Once that happens, your best course of action is to file a claim for damages. Unfortunately, people are often unsure of how and when to file a complaint. To help mitigate this, let’s take a more in-depth look into filing claims for damages caused by movers.
Preparing for potential issues
To properly handle damages caused by movers, you need to start preparing for them even before packing. If you haven’t even considered the possibility of filing a claim, you will have a hard time getting reimbursed for your damaged items. You can have full right to call for a claim and even have the truth on your side. It won’t matter much if you don’t prepare properly.
Make an inventory list
The first thing to do is to make an inventory list. Carefully catalog every item you pack and write down where you packed it. Even if you don’t file a damage complaint, this list will be pretty valuable.
Take photos of your items
While you are packing, make sure to take photos of every item. It is pretty common for movers to say that the damage was already there when you file a damage complaint. To avoid this, take photos of your items. By doing so, you will have hard evidence that the damage in question happened during the move.
Make sure you have the right insurance
One of the common misconceptions people have about moving insurance is that it will adequately cover their items. Keep in mind that moving companies usually calculate moving insurance by weight. This means that your computer will be calculated the same as your furniture. As you can imagine, it is much easier to cause damage to a high-end computer than to a plain old table. So, even if it costs more, you need to get the right insurance for your items.
If necessary, go to a third-party insurance company to cover you. Some moving companies won’t cover valuable items, like antique furniture or art. In that case, you need to consult with someone outside the moving company and ensure that you are adequately covered. Without having a decent insurance contract, your claim won’t be worth much.
Check for damages as soon as you unpack
One of the most challenging aspects of relocation is unpacking. After all the stress and struggle of moving, you’ve finally arrived at your new location. You are probably filled with various emotions, which makes postponing the unpacking seem like a good idea. But know that doing so can cause you significant issues.
When it comes to filing damage complaints, time is of the essence. The longer you wait, the easier it will be for movers to say that the damage was caused after the relocation. Do yourself a favor and check for property damage while the movers are still there to confirm the safety of your belongings. Ideally, you will unpack, and there won’t be any issues. But, if not, you want to be aware of them as soon as possible.
Filing claims for damages caused by movers
So, you’ve unpacked and noticed that your items are damaged. What are you to do? Well, luckily, there is a straightforward procedure to follow. The one important thing is to start the process as soon as possible. The more you prolong it, the harder it is to prove that the movers caused the damage.
Make a list of damages
Just like with packing, you first want to make a list of damages. Catalog every damaged item and describe briefly what the damage is. By doing so, you will ensure that you don’t accidentally skip mentioning an item.
Take photos after
The second thing to do is to take photos of the damage. Having photographic evidence is pretty much mandatory nowadays. So, make sure that you don’t skip this step. The damage should be clearly visible and easy to evaluate.
File a written complaint
Now you need to file a written complaint with the moving company. Every company is required, by law, to provide you with the official complaint paperwork. Once you receive it, make sure to fill it out correctly. Don’t forget to mention if there are any damages in your new home like scratches or dents. If there are, know that the movers are responsible for fixing them.
Wait to hear from your movers
After filing a moving complaint, your moving company should contact you with a reimbursement offer within a week. Experienced moving companies know that issues like these are simply part of the job, so they will try to give you a decent deal. Expect that a company representative will come over to evaluable the damages and inquire about your insurance. If you are satisfied with the mover’s offer, great!. If not, you have two options:
• You can negotiate with your movers to get a better deal (make sure to mention the before and after photos).
• You can file a lawsuit.
The second option is usually more expensive. So, you should carefully consider the damages and how much, realistically, you can get for them.
What to expect from a claim
If you’ve done your best to avoid fraudulent movers and you’ve dealt with the preparations, you should get a decent offer for your claim. Filing claims for damages caused by movers is not an uncommon occurrence. Furthermore, moving companies usually want to avoid lawsuits as much as possible. Nevertheless, preparation is paramount, as no moving company is happy about paying for damages. If the company is adamant about not paying, you can always consider taking them to court. But, keep in mind that the legal costs can sometimes outweigh the reimbursement.