Is a moving company responsible for damages due to negligence even if you did notchose insurance?

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Is a moving company responsible for damages due to negligence even if you did notchose insurance?

I had an item shipped overseas without insurance; it was extremely well packaged. However, the package was tampered with during transit (opened, some protective packaging removed, other packaging moved and incorrectly placed). When the item arrived, it had suffered a large impact to the corner (evidenced by damage to the box) and the item was irreparably damaged. There was additional evidence that the package had been turned over, despite “this side up” and “handle with care” written many times on the box. Can I claim compensation for this?

Asked on February 17, 2012 under Business Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

When someone negligently damages another's property, that person or business can be liable for the cost or value of the damage. Even without insurance, you could try to collect from the mover; however;

1) If they don't pay voluntarily, you would have to sue; and

2) To win the lawsuit, you would have to be able to prove that the damage was caused by the negligence (unreasonable carelessness) or the inentional bad act of the moving company or one of its employees.

It can be difficult to do 2), and bringing a lawsuit--especially if the company is in a different contry--can be expensive; it may not be worthwhile doing this.


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