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How to recoup money from delivery company who knocked out…

How to recoup money...

How to recoup money from delivery company who knocked out power lines while doing a residential delivery

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

New Jersey

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

Nothing filed. I did call the Ethan Allen who made the delivery to my next door neighbor and they directed me to contact the delivery company. I left them a message. Trying to find out what damages I can recoup due to being without power for 8 days.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I don't think so.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
What happened was last Thursday Ethan Allen was making a residential delivery to my next door neighbor. The attempted to back their tall box truck into his driveway and didn't see that the cable and telephone wires were lower than his truck. (they had 2 guys in the truck btw, which I think is relevant because one should have gotten out to guide him in and would have seen he was pulling the wires.) He backed the truck in snapping the telephone pole and snapping the power line. We lost power which wasn't restored for 8 days. (N.J. was just hit the day before with a Nor Easter storm that took out power for a lot of northern N.J.. We only lost power on Wed for about 45 minutes. This happened the next day on a sunny day. The time it took to send a crew out of 8 days was because of the number of outages up north and our area was all on, except for our 8 homes that went dark when he cracked the telephone pole. I called Ethan Allen corporate who were nice but told me that the store the furniture was purchased from is independently owned, so to call them first. I did last week and they said the delivery company would go through their insurance and contact me. They didn't. I called the store today and they gave me the name of the manager of the delivery company who couldn't come to phone. So I'm waiting to here from him. My question is what expenses can I claim/ask for? On night one I lost 4 birds in our bird aviary as the heat went out. I spent about $300 in gas to keep generator running. I lost one refrigerator full of food. Couldn't work for 4 days because I work from home and our cable was knocked out as well. I have 2 exotic birds in the house that I was afraid would get sick as the best I could do with the generator was to keep that area of the house at about 50 degrees. So I couldn't leave the house without someone being here because I couldn't shut off the space heater and the sump pump which were running off the generator and the house was already cold even with the space heater going. I even had to buy a new generator because the one I had was acting up and I had to keep the aviary outside heated. I plan to buy a whole house generator system this year so that generator will need to be sold. But what can I claim as damages. I easily am out $1000 just in out of pocket and the 4 birds, food, duraflame logs, gas. Can I claim "pain an suffering" if I have to sue them? I had two sick kids in the house at the time.
Answered in 24 minutes by:
3/13/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10,210
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. This to me sounds like a classic case of negligence. Negligence simply means that there was a duty that the other party owed and they breached that duty in some way. What is most important is that it is proven that the defendant breached their duty of care because that is what mostly determines whether there is a cause of action. Basically, the question is, “Did the defendant’s actions fall below the standard of care for a reasonable person in a similar situation?” If the answer to that question is yes, then there is negligence and you are entitled to damages.

Damages can be difficult to calculate, but generally you can claim general and special damages. General damages are things like pain and suffering. Special damages are damages that can be proven. For instance, if you had to buy a new generator, if you had to buy new food, or anything else that can be reasonably related to the loss of power, then those could be included as damages.

You may want to consider working this out with them informally and come to a settlement; however, you may also need to consider a small claims action against this store for their actions.

What other questions did you have for me today that I can help you out with:-)?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
If I have to sue do I sue Ethan Allen and the delivery company? How do I find out the information of who to sue at Ethan Allen and the delivery company if they don't provide it to me. So far all I've gotten is a phone number and the manager's name at the delivery company. Should I name both Ethan Allen and the delivery company even if Ethan Allen says the delivery company is a 3rd party and not "theirs". And lastly, how would you handle this if you were me. I don't want to sue. No time, not enough money to make it worth my time. But if I have to sue, can I sue for pain and suffering? The loss of the birds that were pets? And the generator, couldn't they say I needed that anyway? Can I sue for pain and suffering for having to be in a cold house for 8 days with sick kids and staying up all hours of the night to fuel generator and keep fire going and just from the dangerous situation of having all these extension cords running throughout the house? I mean every time I had to leave I felt I had to shut down the generator as I didn't want a fire to start while I was getting more gas or picking up my kid at school etc. thanks.

Yes, you'd need to sue EA and the delivery company. You will have to do some investigation to find out who the delivery company is if they choose not to give it to you so you can include them on any lawsuit; however, if you go through an informal route to resolve this, like mediation or arbitration for example, then you may not even need the delivery company's name. But if you do file a lawsuit, name the both of them to maximize your recovery.

As I mentioned before, you could sue for the general and special damages that arise, including pain and suffering from the death of the birds, the cold nights, the food you had to replace, and the generator you had to replace as well. You'd have to do an inventory of all of the things that caused you damages that stemmed from this power outage and then you can come up with a reasonable figure.

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If you don't want to go to court, then you'll need to negotiate with them. One little known, but very effective tool that lawyers use when there isn’t a law that they can rely on to support their position is called principled negotiation. All this means is that you are looking to get something done on the basis of principles, even if you can’t find a law to support you. It takes the anxiety out of dealing with the other side because you’re focused on the facts, not each other.

Here are some simple steps you can follow:

  1. Figure out what the other side’s interests are (saving money, saving time, etc.?);

  2. Think about what your interests are (saving money, saving time, etc.?);

  3. Come up with 2 to 3 reasonable and objective ways to solve the problem;

  4. Present it to the other side;

  5. If the other side rejects, ask them, “Is there a reason why you do not feel it is necessary to negotiate?”

Of course, these are just building blocks to get the other party to help solve the dispute. Believe me when I say that good lawyers use this technique all the time to keep things out of court. You’ll find that it is very effective even with the most stubborn of individuals.

This means that you can come up with a variety of ways that the two parties can resolve this peacefully without getting lawyers involved.

What other questions did you have for me today that I can help you out with:-)?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
you are good! Last thing. If they ask me to itemize my expenses and send to them. Do I do that? What my actual out of pocket expenses are that a provable with receipts may not add up to what I would ask for in court including pain and suffering. Like the loss of the 4 birds for instance. I raised those so I don't have receipts for them and I didn't save the bodies! I have a pic of one in the garbage but with all that was going on at the time I wasn't thinking to take pics of the dead birds and when I realized it they were pretty deep in there and I didn't want to go digging for them. So I got a pic of the one that hadn't fallen to the bottom. From what I described if they won't give me a reasonable amount could I sue for $5K in small claims? My out of pocket without the generator ($750) was about $1000 given the birds value at about $350.

Thanks for the compliment! If they ask you to itemize your expenses, I would send it to them. It suggests that they would be willing to consider your expenses and negotiate with you. You can also include whatever damages you want for pain and suffering. A general rule of thumb is you should multiple 1.5x your actual damages to get your pain and suffering damages. If they don't comply, agree, or just fight you on this, then you can go to small claims. So long as you have something reasonable as damages you should be okay.

Did you have any other questions for me regarding this?

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Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10,210
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I think that will do it. Thanks so much for your help and expertise.
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