Can I sue movers for not honoring their contract and losing all of my furniture and nearly all of my belongings?

I recently moved from NJ to TX since I lost my job in NJ. I had movers scheduled to come on the 13th of last month and flew on the 15th. When they arrived they said it would cost me $2000 instead of the contracted $1250. I did not exceed pieces, boxes or weight. I could not afford to pay what they wanted so I told them to leave. It was impossible to find other movers on the weekend so I mailed half a dozen boxes to my address in TX and lost the other half dozen boxes and all of my furniture. Is there anything I can do to collect damages? I’m heart broken.

Asked on September 9, 2011 under General Practice, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

IF you had an enforceable agreement--not just a price quote or estimate, but a firm contract--you may be able to sue them for breach of contract. However, the damages you can sue for will be the foreseeble results of their failure to honor the contract. What that will be depends on the specific circumstances, but is not likely to include the replacement value of the furniture and belongings you lost. That because a natural or foreseeable results of having a mover try to increase the price by $500 is not necessarily mailing boxes of belongings or abandoning your furniture; that, in fact may actually be an unlikely outcome, since other options--borrow the extra $500 from friends or family, then sue the movers for breach of contract; store belongings with friends or family or at self storage until you could get them sent; etc.--existed. Thus, while you should consult with an attorney and may have a cause of action, there is good chance you cannot, unfortunately, recover as much as you may hope.


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