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Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55313
Experience:  32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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After hurricane Sandy (when we had no water or power) we were

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After hurricane Sandy (when we had no water or power) we were found negligent because, when the water service was returned to our building, our bath tub faucet was on...which flooded the apartments below us. The super and building porter didn't notice there was a problem for over 24 hours. Neighbors' insurance covered them, and now the insurance companies are threatening to sue us. One company offered to let us pay off the amount in payments....but we'll be paying for 30 years! We have no assets and no savings now, thanks to displacement after Sandy (We had to pay rent and everything on top of our mortgage since the storm). What should we do?
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good morning. There's nothing you can do about them threatening and there is nothing you can do about them actually filing suit...although I doubt they will file suit. But, I would respond to them proactively and let them know you absolutely have no intention of paying them one dime because: i) there's no way you were negligent when you were displaced by the storm and had no knowledge of when the water would be turned back on and if there was negligence on anyone's part, it was the super and porter; and ii) even if they do file the suit, they will be wasting their money because you have nothing for them to get and if they pursue it, you'll simply file bankruptcy (and even if you don't plan to, they don't know that and it's great leverage for you) and get the judgment discharged. But, botXXXXX XXXXXne, even if they sue, it's not likely they will prevail.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

One of the insurance companies pressured me into agreeing to pay them $60,000 at a rate of $50/month. I paid $1,500.00 on that already. Since nothing was signed and notarized, can I still get out of this?

Thanks for following up. Since you have no signed written agreement and you have no assets in any case, you can simply stop paying this debt. The insurance company is not going to be able to satisfy the burden of showing any enforceable contract. And, even if there was a signed document and they sued and got a judgment, it would be uncollectible because you have nothing for them to take.
Richard and 4 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the answers! What do we tell these insurance company collection agents when they call ? They're VERY aggressive.

You're welcome. Don't let them intimidate you. You can get them to stop this. Send them a certified, return receipt requested letter informing them you do not owe this debt and even if you did, you have nothing for them to get. Demand they immediately cease and desist all further efforts to contact you and/or anyone else to collect this debt other than notices if they choose to pursue a judgment they cannot win and cannot collect. Inform them that any efforts to do otherwise will constitute a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and that you will report each and every violation to the Federal Trade Commission. Each violation carries at least a $1,000 fine, so that should be the end of things for you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks so much for your help.

I told the insurance companies that I am looking at starting bankruptcy proceedings, and now they are all asking me for my attorney's name so they can verify that I am filing. Not sure what to do next.

Thanks for checking back in. You have no legal obligation to provide them with this information. You can simply let them know that when your filing is made, they will be notified by the bankruptcy trustee. You need not provide them anything further.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for setting my mind at ease. Always great to hear from a fellow Texan. :) (I'm formerly from Texas, now living here in NY)

You're welcome! I have two sons living in NYC..both in the financial world! :)

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