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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 99492
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I had personal property damage to my kids play system in our

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I had personal property damage to my kids play system in our yard by some fallen trees. The trees are property of an association that I do not belong to. They removed the trees; however, the play system has been completely destroyed. I contacted the association for replacement costs. They told me they would depreciate the value based off the quotes that I sent them. I don't feel like that is acceptable. And they are taking their time getting back with me. They told me that they would have an answer at the latest last Friday but have not responed. What are my options? I really do not want to go through my insurance company.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation. What is the amount of damage in dollars here?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

6k-7k are the quotes that I received to replace the structure.

Thank you.

Please understand how this works. Once someone damages your property and they have insurance which covers the damage, the insurance is liable for the judgment that you'd get against the insured if you sue them (in limited amount, but usually pretty high). Ergo, to avoid paying out huge sums from a judgment where their insured is likely responsible, the insurance company likes to settle the claim to avoid litigation. Once an agreement is reached, you sign a release and waive your rights to sue in exchange for the payout.

But, how does one reach that settlement? The insurance adjuster. The adjuster's job is to make you miserable. They will ignore you, confuse you, and ask for redundant and seemingly needless paperwork in an effort to talk you into a small settlement or have you give up all-together. I am sure this sounds familiar. And remember, statute of limitations usually only gives you a limited time to file suit, which is three years per §600.5805(8). They know this; they hope you do not. If you miss the three years mark, you can no longer file against their insured, which means they do not even have to work with you.

An attorney usually cuts through this malarkey since the adjuster knows counsel does not put up with this and WILL file suit if needed (whereas here, they do not see you as much of a threat without an attorney since you filing or winning a suit without counsel is unlikely). Then a settlement is usually reached. The attorney should take this on a contingency basis, meaning they do not get paid unless you do. Usual set up is their take is 33% settlement, 40% win at trial, 45% at appeal; plus some office costs. Everything is negotiable.

May I recommend the MI Bar referral program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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