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I rent an apartment in New Jersey. A tree fell on my car…

I rent an apartment...

I rent an apartment in New Jersey. A tree fell on my car while it was parked behind the my house and it was declared a total loss. My landlord had no property insurance at the time. My auto insurance company paid the book value of the car but I still owe my finance company about $7,000. My landlord and her attorney believe it was not her tree, but the neighbor's. The neighbor has property insurance. It seems to me that I have several possible course of action: I can join forces with my landlord and let her attorney make a claim against the neighbor's insurance (my landlord had to pay $3,000 to have the tree removed), or file my own claim against the neighbor's insurance, or sue my landlord in small claims court in the hope of settling for $5000.

Lawyer's Assistant: When we are ready I'll take you to the appropriate web page.

Okay, what is cost for this?

Lawyer's Assistant: You just pay a $5 deposit now and the rest only when you get a reply from the Real Estate Lawyer. All of this is 100% satisfaction guaranteed, so you can get a refund if you're not happy for any reason.

What is "the rest" --??

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?

No paperwork, but I spoke to my landlord's attorney and also to the next door neighbor. All friendly so far.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a NJ lawyer about this?

Not my own lawyer, just my landlord's.

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

I want to know what the lawyer would charge me for this service. You have not answered my question.

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3/21/2018
Olivia Kent
Olivia Kent, Attorney
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Frankly, ALL three of those are viable options. The only issue is if you intend to "join forces" with your landlord you need to make sure that your landlord actually is intending to make a claim against the neighbor's insurance - so that you're not stuck waiting for him or her to do something they don't intend to do. Filing your own claim allows you to control the speed at which it happens. Also, there's one more option you didn't mention - and that's suing the neighbor in small claims court. Frankly, you can sue both simultaneously in small claims court. Please let me know if I've answered your question. If I have answered your question, if you wouldn't mind, could you please take a moment to submit a rating so that I receive credit for working with you. If you have any follow up questions I would be *happy* to answer them. Experts only get credit for the time and effort we spend on our answers if you rate positively - 5 stars is definitely appreciated but not required! It DOES NOT cost you anything at all to submit a rating; it just allows me to get credit for helping you - otherwise I get no credit at all. You CAN still ask follow up questions after rating. There may be a lag between your question and my answer; this is because I'm either not at my computer or helping someone else but I assure you I will ALWAYS come back and answer your question.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
If I filed a claim with the neighbor's insurance and did not get satisfaction, could I still sue the neighbor? Or is it either/or?

No, it's not either or. Generally that's exactly what people do... they go the non-litigation route and if that fails they can proceed to litigation.

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You can sue from the get-go but filing a claim against insurance is of course cheaper and easier (and doesn't require you to go to court).

Olivia Kent
Olivia Kent, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4,570
Experience: Partner at Kent Law Group, LLC
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Okay, thanks! I think that's enough information to go ahead with.

It was my pleasure. Thanks so much for your rating! And, just for future reference, I want you to have a way to get back to me directly (if you want). If you need anything and you want to reach me you can do so by clicking HERE https://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-droliviak-jd-md/?rpt=3800 or by putting "This Question Is For Olivia" before you start typing your question.

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

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