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My neighbors boat during the hurricane crashed into my dock…

Customer Question
My neighbors boat during...

My neighbors boat during the hurricane crashed into my dock and sunk. They did not have any insurance on their boat. They did pay to have a salvage company come in and discard the boat. The boat did $5,800 damage to my dock and they are saying they will not pay for it because it is an act of God. They have the money to pay for it. Are they responsible for paying for the repairs to my dock?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state is this in? And how old is the boat?

The state of Florida. During the storm their 27 foot boat came out of their boat house. Their boat was approximately 25 years old.

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

Not yet. The salvage company came yesterday and put the boat into a dumpster

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

I think that is about it.

Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
9/27/2017
Real Estate Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 10 months ago
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34,389
Experience: Began practicing law in 1992
Verified

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today.

Please allow me several minutes to read your facts and type my response both initially and when you add a follow up question or add facts. Please don't ask "are you there", etc., since when you post it can erase what I am working on. If we are having a conversation unless I tell you I am going offline, I will be here but I may be doing research.

If you receive a notice or email regarding a phone call for an extra price that comes directly from the website and not from me and I have no control over the sending of the notice or email. I don't take part in the telephone program and only work through this format and under your facts this format should be sufficient.

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Real Estate Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 10 months ago

It is not an open and shut case either way. While "Force Majeure" or Act of God is a valid defense, it doesn't automatically excuse all behavior.

For instance, if they didn't tie their boat adequately or make any arrangements at all to keep it from breaking loose during the hurricane then you have a good case. If, instead, they had it tied with a rope, on a hoist out of the water, held with straps, and did everything possible then it is less likely that they would be held responsible by the court.

The insurance companies try and convince people that Acts of God automatically relies everyone of responsibility but that is incorrect. If you live on a portion of the coast which is prone to hurricanes, which all of Florida would be, then you need to plan for that and make your property as safe as possible.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
They had it on their boat lift in their boat dock. It was lifted as high as they could. It was not tied to the boat house. The waves swamp the boat and it bent the bunks on their lift and the boat slipped out of the lift and hit my dock doing 5800 damage
Real Estate Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 10 months ago

You would probably have to hire some type of engineer to figure out whether that was sufficient and whether it being tied would make a difference. Also, you have a potential case against the manufacturer of the "bunks on their lift" if they were insufficient to support the weight.

Many people don't understand that most cases are different. Different facts can mean different results.

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Real Estate Lawyer: Dwayne B., Attorney replied 10 months ago

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a 5 Star Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. Of course, please feel free to ask any follow-up questions in this thread. I want to be sure all of your questions are answered.

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