If the moving company left the van in a unsecured lot during my interstate move, and it was stolen, can I sue for breach of contract and negligence?

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If the moving company left the van in a unsecured lot during my interstate move, and it was stolen, can I sue for breach of contract and negligence?

The moving company subcontracted to another moving company, who left the truck in an unsecured lot from which it was stolen, along with all my household goods. On the Bill of Lading I waived full value coverage, meaning that the mover is only liable for 60 cents per pound for any broken or lost items. Can I still sue for the full replacement value – over $100k – due to negligence and breach of contract, since delivery within 30 days was guaranteed? Does that breach of contract nullify the 60 cents per pound liability? Can I sue for additional damages – emotional, etc.

Asked on August 18, 2012 under Business Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

This would not be breach of contract, since  a party is not liable for breaches caused by the wrongful acts of third parties not under their control. If you signed a loss waiver, your potential recovery is limited by its terms--but only by its terms: check to see if theft falls under the limitations (i.e. "stolen" may not be "lost" or "broken"). If you had renters or homeowner's insurance, you may be able to claim under your policy. You cannot sue for emotional injury from theft in any event.


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