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No need to apologize, I am so sorry to hear about the problems you encountered driving cross-country
Please be kind enough to give me a few minutes to type up your Answer, I don't type very fast and I do not use "stock" Answers. I prepare each Answer for my customers based on their specific facts,
Q. Were you parked in the parking lot owned by La Quinta ?
2. Were there any signs either around the parking lot, or at the front desk disclaiming liability to guests for any loss or damage to their property parked in their parking lot ?
Thank you Andrea. We were parked in their parking lot, and I don't specifically remember seeing any signs (we were very in shock and upset) but I am sure they had them. The hotel staff, though sympathetic for us, did not seem to think they had any liability.
Hi, Jessye, Thank you for your reply,
As I said, I don't type very fast and I do not use "stock" Answers. I prepare each Answer for my customers based on their specific facts, so please bear with me,
Thank you so much,
Thank you for your kind patience, jESSYE,
1. With respect to U-Haul
They are definitely liable for the repairs to your vehicle. Be sure to have it checked by an experienced, Licensed mechanic because driving even a short distance with a trailer banging continuously into your car can do a lot of damage, Not only physical damage, but damage that cannot be visually detected - the undercarriage, the alignment, and so many other things.
You should also make an appointment with a physician. Individuals who are involved in automobile accidents do not always immediately feel the pain of their injuries because when the body suffers injuries, it goes into "shock" as a method of protecting itself. A week might go by before anything is felt, so just be aware of this possibility. U-Haul knows that it is liable whether it will admit liability or not and will want to settle with you before you have had the time to assess all your damages to both property and to your bodies. Therefore, do not neglect this very important detail.
Please be aware that if U-Haul initially tries to deny liability, it will most likely be on the theory that you contributed to the damage to your vehicle and to any personal injuries you sustained because you continued to drive with the loose trailer banging onto the rear of your vehicle. You must refute this argument by arguing that one cannot immediately change lanes and move onto the shoulder of the road when one is traveling on a highway where vehicles are travelling at speeds above 60 or 65 miles per hour;
2. With Respect to Your Stolen Personal Property
a. Do not discount any avenue of possibility. You should make a claim under your mother's landlord policy of insurance. Unless you have an Attorney with experience in insurance law review the policy, you will not know anything for sure. If necessary, you might even want to engage an insurance adjuster. It will not cost you anything because they work on a contingency fee and will only be paid if they secure a settlement with the insurance company;
b. U-Haul's Insurance - Personal property such as clothing does not get "damaged" while being transported by a U-Haul. This sounds like a bogus cost which U-Haul charged you because even personal property such as an appliance does not tend to get damaged by simply transporting it. If I am not mistaken, U-Haul supplies customers with heavy padded cloth which is placed around appliances, so the chances of damage to that category of personal property is next to nil, unless the driver is in an accident and the appliances are damaged in the accident. So, if appliances do not get damaged and clothing does not get damaged, the cost of this insurance sold to you by U-Haul borders on fraud. It is more likely that property will be stolen, rather than damaged. You should make a claim for your loss under this policy because their attempt to exclude loss from theft is highly irregular. I can almost guarantee that if you sued the insurance company for this exclusion, you might very wel get treble damages by including a count for "Bad Faith". This is a claim which is recognized generally as against insurance companies and if the Court finds that the insurance company acted in bad faith, it awards the Plaintiff punitive damages which are calculated as three times the amount of ordinary damages. So, if your ordinary damages were $5,000, punitive damages would be calculated as $15,000 for a total recovery of $20,000 ($5,000 + [$5,000 x 3 = $15,000] = $20,000).
3. With respect to La Quinta Hotel
Hotels which provide parking for their guests cannot escape liability that easily. Even with disclaimers, the Courts do not like to absolve hotels and motels of liability to their guests because the guest really does not have options of different places to park when staying at one of these hotels or motels and they pretty much have to parkin the hotel's parking lot. They are familiar with the degree of crime in their own areas and even if they clim they are not familiar, the law will charge them with knowledge because it is something that they should know as part of theiroperations as "InnKeepers" and they owe some degree of duty to their guests. If they do not want to be held liable for any loss sustained by a guest, they should have notices conspicuously posted in different areas of the parking lot, areas where the guest is most likely to see them, and it should post notices in big letters on the wall behind the front desk where guests are likely to see these notices when they register. The notices should not only contain disclaimer language, but should also advise the guest that there is a risk of theft if they park in the hotel's parking lot. A guest is not expected to know the level of crime in an area in which it is only passing through. The hotel has an affirmative duty to impart this knowledge to their guests so that the guest is able to make an informed decision on whether or not it should use the hotel's parking lot. Additionally, if the hotel has their security tape and might very well help in identifying the thieves, it should not give the guest a "song and dance" excuse that it must be requested by the police, especially since the hotel knows that the police will not request it if the value of the items stolen is less than $5,000.
I have serious doubts about the policy that the police do not investigate thefts where the value of the stolen items is less than $5,000. That pretty much is a form of discrimination against those individuals with less valuable items and favors individuals with more money because it caters to their income level, but not to those below a certain income level. That is definitely something that should be explored with a local Las Vegas Attorney. It is a form of denial of equal protection under the law as guaranteed by our United States Constitution.
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