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Old 06-25-2011, 05:31 AM   #21
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One lesson learned. Call the police and file a report in the future.

Thank goodness she does not own the house and it is not a permanent neighbor.


He may have her over a barrel... If he is not willing to pay... it may cost her more to recover the $500. Small claims court filing fee and time off work. Then if she gets judgement she still has to collect. Not sure of the state law and procedure... but that may cost more money if he doesn't pay willingly. Then there is the hassle and stress. She could lock horns with this guy and still wind up with nothing but a lot of frustration.

As an alternative, she might let things settle for a few days. Go back to the guy and try to negotiate some sort of payment (no heated argument or threats... just careful reasoning).

If he is reasonable at all, he might be willing to pay half to officially (live up to his obligation). He might feel like the big negotiator since he work the price down. To your daughter... Half a loaf is better than none!

She might not ever be made whole on it anyway... no matter what. If the negotiation does not work, she might be better of letting it go... even though "it is the principle of the thing"!

[It is easy to say that when it is not my problem.... I am a "principle of the thing" kinda guys]

One thing you might want to council your daughter about... (and I do not mean to insult you or make any assumptions)... but

If she gets into a p!ssing contest with this guy, she and her roommates had better be a little careful. If she and her friends are squeaky clean... then there may be no future retribution. But if they cut lose a little, as young people often do... it might be used against them. If they have parties (which young people do).... this @$$h0le will probably be calling the cops on them.
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Old 06-25-2011, 05:50 AM   #22
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From the perspective of retired law enforcement:

The police cannot (as opposed to will not) take any action against the neighbor. In order for it to be vandalism the damage must be intentional. It is unlikely they would even write a report as there is no crime involved and they are not in the business of documenting events for people's civil cases.

Your daughter's recourse is in small claims court. Has your daughter been damaged? Of course. Could the neighbor have reasonably foreseen the damage happening? Sure. Is it worth pursuing in court? That's a judgment call.
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Old 06-25-2011, 06:54 AM   #23
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My two cents, I'd tell her to chalk it up to experience and forget about it. Also lesson to be learned, don't park close to a stationary basketball goal. Doesn't seem hardly worth the hassle to mess with.
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Old 06-25-2011, 09:31 AM   #24
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Say to neighbor "If you pay half now, we'll forget about it and shake hands. Otherwise here's a letter that shows our appointment in claims court on July 12."
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Old 06-25-2011, 10:33 AM   #25
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I don't think it could be worth $500 to get tangled up in small claims court and cause further enmity with her neighbor, unless she looks on it as an educational enterprise or as fun. I was sued once in small claims court, and it cost me nothing except lots of time (I won). But it was quite interesting, for someone who never had been in court before.
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Old 06-25-2011, 10:51 AM   #26
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comprehension is when YOU cause damage to your car or your car is damaged and you do not know who is at fault.... here you do know, the question is do they have insurance...
.
I'm not sure that's accurate. For example, if your car is stolen and damaged, it's covered through your comprehensive coverage even though the police eventually catch the thief.
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Old 06-25-2011, 11:01 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
From the perspective of retired law enforcement:

The police cannot (as opposed to will not) take any action against the neighbor. In order for it to be vandalism the damage must be intentional. It is unlikely they would even write a report as there is no crime involved and they are not in the business of documenting events for people's civil cases.

Your daughter's recourse is in small claims court. Has your daughter been damaged? Of course. Could the neighbor have reasonably foreseen the damage happening? Sure. Is it worth pursuing in court? That's a judgment call.
Walt,

I would have handled it this way with the police....... At the time I discovered damage to my car I would have called and asked for an officer to investigate. I would NOT have carried out my own investigation and determined that a strom blew over a bb goal or offered any other hypothetical explanation. I would have simply pointed out the damage to my car and asked for their help in determining the cause and culprit. I believe the police would have arrived and after looking over the situation written a report of what they found.

Perhaps you're correct though. I suppose it's possible they would have left the situation uninvestigated, undocumented and their time unaccounted for. At least there would be a record of my call to the police stating that I had discovered damage to my car had occurred during the night while it was parked in the driveway.
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Old 06-25-2011, 11:02 AM   #28
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Took one person to small claims. Spent the better part of a day + preparation time. Won. Learned winning a judgement is not the same as finding a dime on the sidewalk.

Watching for change on the sidewalk has a better return ROI IMO.
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Old 06-25-2011, 11:09 AM   #29
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We had a basketball hoop in our driveway for many years. It was portable with a large plastic base that you filled with water (and a little anti-freeze) to keep it stationary. It also had a place to attach an included large screw into the ground to secure it. If it had been knocked over in a storm it would have landed on our own property.

Our son outgrew it so we gave it to our neighbor who just rolled it over to his own driveway. We gave him the large screw to secure it but he never bothered to use it. During a bad storm the thing tipped over and landed on one of their cars, leaving a nice crease on the roof line and scratches on a door.

He should have used the screw we gave him.

Sorry this happened to your daughter. My first step would be to ask the neighbor if they have homeowners or renters insurance. If they are renters and don't have insurance then check with their landlord. Is that something that the landlord's insurance may cover?
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Old 06-25-2011, 11:24 AM   #30
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I can understand wanting to avoid confrontation. I did that for about 30 years , and found it innefective.

Immediate confrontation with Bullies/Flakes/Insurance companies/etc. is far less painfull .

Small claims court is my vote, mainly for the educational value , of how the court system REALLY works , not just some chapter in a book in Highschool Civics or college .

Even if she wins, very unlikely to collect the judgement. For me , this is the fun part .
http://www.digtriad.com/news/waterco...ank-Of-America

If the neighbor is not the property owner , you will need to sue both, You may have to prove who owned the Basketball Hoop if it was not owner occupied , both owner and tenant will deny ownership.

My $.02 worth
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Old 06-25-2011, 11:28 AM   #31
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If it is worth the aggravation, I suspect she would have a case in small claims court. Perhaps, she might send her neighbor a registered letter indicating she would like to settle the matter amicably, but will pursue other means if necessary to receive an equitable settlement. Very likely she should also get a few estimates and include those in the letter for their reference. If they pay up, great, if not she can go the small claims court route or just drop it.
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Old 06-25-2011, 03:58 PM   #32
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I believe the police would have arrived and after looking over the situation written a report of what they found.
They might do that, but all it's going to say is:
Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
that [the complainant] had discovered damage to [the] car had occurred during the night while it was parked in the driveway.
It proves nothing in itself, and in any civil proceedings it would be just about worthless. It's a two sentence report that takes five minutes to write and is never seen or heard from again. I wrote a few of them rather than try to explain the law to people who weren't listening. Most of the time I advised people to call their insurance company or their attorney, because there was no reason to believe it was anything other than what it really was - storm damage.

My time would be documented in one line on my workcard noting when I got the call, when I arrived, when I cleared and how I cleared it - "Information - no report."

Unless this occurred in some jurisdiction where they have weird laws that make no sense anywhere else in the country, no criminal act took place here. The wind in the storm apparently caused the trashy neighbors' basketball goal to fall and dent the car.

In civil court I don't have a clue what would happen in this case. It seems that the plaintiff would have to prove that the law required some duty on the part of the defendant to keep his/her basketball goal in place, and the defendant failed to do that. Then there is the whole force majeure thing working for the defendant (it was an old and ratty basketball goal, but God knocked it down with a strong wind - take your claim up with him, not me).

If it was me, and in Texas, and I wanted to pursue it, I would file the lawsuit in the local JP court and await the mandatory mediation meeting. If I couldn't get satisfaction there, I would continue with the lawsuit, bring my roommates to court to testify to the decrepit condition of the basketball goal. If I won, and they refused to pay, I think I would try to file a lien against their home. It may take years, but when it comes time to sell I think they'll find a way to cough up that $500.
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Old 06-26-2011, 08:20 AM   #33
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I'm not sure that's accurate. For example, if your car is stolen and damaged, it's covered through your comprehensive coverage even though the police eventually catch the thief.

True... I was to narrow on my first post...

But I still think that the damage would fall under uninsured/underinsured or the homeowners policy...
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