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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  25 yrs. experience in family law, estates, real estate, business law, criminal defense, immigration, and employment law.
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I apologize in advance, this is a few questions in one. We

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I apologize in advance, this is a few questions in one. We recently moved across the country from Baltimore to California. We were driving a dodge neon and towing a 5x8 uhaul trailer with a 2" lock on it. We purposefully hired uhaul to install the tow hitch on our car, and attach all of the trailer equipment with the plan of not removing it until we reached the Uhaul in California. I was traveling with my mother and our cat and since we are not car people, we wanted to make sure we hired professionals so we would be safe. The man that attached the trailer to our car only showed us one nob we had to make sure stayed tight, he never mentioned a pin or showed us that he put it in. On Day 3 of our drive, we were in Arkansas and went over a bump going 55mph on the highway. Our trailer came off the hitch and only stayed attached to us by the chains. We managed to get over to the side of the road, but the weight of the trailer slamming into the car the whole way over felt like we were being rear ended and there was damage to the bumper. When we called uhaul emergency road service, they weren't even going to come help us until we explained to them that THEIR COMPANY installed the hitch and everything attached to it. When the emergency road service arrived they informed us our pin (which keeps the trailer attached to the hitch) was missing. Once emergency road people got a new pin and had us on the way, we made our way to an actual Uhaul in Fort Smith, Ark. The men there told us that pins do not just break or fall out. They said it had to have been installed incorrectly or not at all. They also informed us that if either of them attached a trailer to a car and it came off on the highway, they would be fired. Even though we were not injured, we surely could have been and it was absolutely terrifying. We do have a claim in with Uhaul, but we aren't sure what happens from there. The second part of our story is that on Day 7 of ourXXXXX we stopped to stay in Las Vegas for a night to relax and see the strip. We checked in and parked our car at the La Quinta hotel on Paradise Rd. Around 6:30 the next morning my mother went down to get coffee and grab something out of the car and saw our blanket (which her tv had been wrapped in) sitting on the floor outside the trailer. When she got up to the trailer she realized the lock was gone (bolt cutter must likely) and a good amount of our personal belongings had been stolen. (The final tally coming to about $3100, though its hard to figure out how much your entire wardrobe is worth when it is stolen among many other things.) We went in and reported it to the hotel who told us we had to call the police but that they would not come to the hotel because it was under $5000. All they would do was take a report over the phone. We asked the hotel if they could give us a copy of the security footage but apparently the police have to come and ask for it. We also tried to call the police and inform them that they must have gotten personal info because one of my mother's cards had an attempted $300 cash advance charge (luckily fraud alert caught it) and a declined charge at target. This, I guess, wasn't helpful to them. Because we were moving, my mother's house is rented out so she only has landlord insurance, not homeowners. We hadn't signed our lease yet at our new place so no renter's insurance either. We had insurance up to $5000 on our belongings in uhaul, but apparently they have to be damaged not stolen. Please help. What can we do?

Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be glad to assist you,


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,




Customer: replied 3 years ago.

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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