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Help for DD#2 - neighbor and damaged car
Old 06-24-2011, 05:38 PM   #1
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Help for DD#2 - neighbor and damaged car

DD has an unfriendly neighbor (couple with kids) with a driveway basketball hoop. In a storm last week it fell onto her car and damaged the roof. The estimate to repair is $490.

DD took pictures of the hoop laying in the driveway and her car. She attempted to discuss it with the women, who has refused to come to the door (sends her young kids). Her ex-husband coincidentally stopped by at that moment and did offer to help. Once acknowledged, the current husband promised to pay for repair. Today, when DD informed him of the estimate, the response was one of aggression (but no threat) and denial, and the phone call ended in an argument and refusal to pay. The ex wants no further involvement.

My question is, does DD have any recourse, or is she out $500? Can she involve the police or is this a civil matter? Is her only recourse small claims court, and if so, is she likely to prevail in the face of a complete denial of any responsibility? I told her I’d ask and get back tomorrow or Sunday. Looking for advice.
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:40 PM   #2
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Call her car insurance agent?
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:44 PM   #3
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Since she will have a deductible I think she would have to take the neighbor to small claims court. She can avoid the deductible that way. I wouldn't report it to the insurance company if the deductible is over 100 bucks which I would guess it is.

I'm not sure if it would be car ins or home owners ins..
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:53 PM   #4
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She has a high auto deductible and rents (no homeowners). Not sure about the neighbors but they seem like deadbeats to me - no insurance to cover something like this.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:00 PM   #5
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But maybe her insurance company would pay for the repair and then go after the neighbors? (oops, didn't pick up on her "high deductible") could advise her on how to go after the neighbors' home owners insurance?

I don't think it would hurt to tell the neighbors she is going to call the police, as she has the photo evidence, even if the police just say it was an act of God and they're not going to be involved.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:14 PM   #6
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The Police aren't going to do a thing, it's a civil matter. Small claims court is the answer.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:19 PM   #7
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She has a high auto deductible and rents (no homeowners). Not sure about the neighbors but they seem like deadbeats to me - no insurance to cover something like this.
Perhaps your daughter's deductible level is different for collision coverage than comprehensive coverage. I've seen folks get those mixed up. This damage would be covered by her comprehensive coverage and maybe that's at a lower deductible level than her collision coverage.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:21 PM   #8
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I would notify the property owner as well as notify my auto insurer. Whether or not the property owner would have any liability is questionable but there may be leverage there. Be sure to ask for a copy of her rental agreement because you can obtain her legal name should you need to take legal action.

Given the vibes she might as well file in small claims court immediately.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:22 PM   #9
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The Police aren't going to do a thing, it's a civil matter. Small claims court is the answer.
I agree that the police wouldn't do anything. But, if at the time of discovery Mikes daughter had called the police to come and write a report on an act of vandalism, at least the situation would be documented.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:27 PM   #10
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Deductible on neighbor's homeowner's policy or renter's policy would probably be at least $500 so it's going to be out of pocket for neighbor.

Will you be assisting DD#2 in purchasing renter's insurance?
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:33 PM   #11
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I agree that the police wouldn't do anything. But, if at the time of discovery Mikes daughter had called the police to come and write a report on an act of vandalism, at least the situation would be documented.
Yup, she should have called at that time but it's too late now. She does have a picture of the basketball net on the car though, that should be enough proof for the judge.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:34 PM   #12
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I agree that the police wouldn't do anything. But, if at the time of discovery Mikes daughter had called the police to come and write a report on an act of vandalism, at least the situation would be documented.
And even though the police are likely not to do anything but take a report, the neighbor, if advised in advance that she's going to call in the police, may have their own reasons for not wanting to see the police and hence may pay up instead.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:40 PM   #13
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She just moved less than a month ago. Shares a home (rental) with some friends (no lease for her). She's had renters insurance 'til now (gimme credit there Buckeye). I'm not sure she still does or if it would cover. Something to check.

I suggested she call the police last sunday when she saw the car - just to get the report as youbet said. It would also help with the neighbors. She didn't. I understand - she's trying to avoid confrontation, bad feelings, etc.

I'm going to review her auto coverage over the weekend. Calling the insurer is always a last resort for me when someone else is at fault. If she took my advice in the past, it is a high deductible.

Picture is of the net on the ground, near the car.


Thanks all for the feedback so far.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:41 PM   #14
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I think that calling the police into this knowing they won't do a thing is a mistake. The nut job neighbor will just be pissed that you called the Police and laugh at you once they drive away doing nothing.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:44 PM   #15
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If you need a Police report I'd go down to the Police Station so the neighbor doesn't know and at least your DD will have a report.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:45 PM   #16
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I don't know too much about "basket ball hoop law" but.....if it was your neighbor's tree, unless you could prove intentional negligence, once the tree hits your property---it's your problem. That is the law in most states. My guess is that the basketball hoop would flow along the same lines of logic.
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Old 06-24-2011, 06:49 PM   #17
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Sadly, I think this incident falls into the same category as situations such as returning to your car in a mall parking lot to find a small dent or having your car sustain a small amount of hail damage.......... you're stuck. The cost to repair the damage is less than the insurance deductible you chose and there is no one else to pay.

It's true that in this case, it appears the neighbor's bb hoop blew over in the wind and caused the damage. But since the neighbor doesn't want to pay, you'll have to evaluate the hassle of winning a judgment and then actually collecting the money vs the value of $490 to your daughter (or to you, deep pockets dad...... )

By any chance is the damaged car an older model where perhaps a quick touch up and buff for $100 - $200 would do?
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Old 06-24-2011, 07:03 PM   #18
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For this humble non-lawyer the difference between a basketball hoop and a tree branch is the hoop was placed in that location, can be moved, and should have been when a bad storm was forecast.

Youbet, as you say, this may be an expensive lesson. Still, before concluding that she (we) need to understand the options.

Agree that police now won't help.

Gotta go set the table. It's my job, I do it well, and the pay is fantastic (DW's cooking). A real bargain for me. I'll be back tomorrow on this.
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Old 06-24-2011, 09:56 PM   #19
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Perhaps the best that she can hope for is that she and her neighbor split the repair bill.

I had a basketball hoop in my driveway and it came down and just missed my car. Mine got old and a support got rusted out. I guess some wind helped thing along.
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Old 06-24-2011, 11:38 PM   #20
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Also from a non-lawyer.....

But, a basketball hoop is different than a tree... if a tree is healthy and a storm causes it to break and fall on the neighbor, that is an act of god... if a basketball hoop falls, that means you did not anchor it properly which is negligence...

Also, you probably have uninsured/underinsured insurance.... I would think this falls under that part of the policy... 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...


There is no deductible on the payment of liability... so if they have homeowners insurance it should pay... now, it might cause higher premiums... but that is their problem...


MORE LIKELY is they do not have any kind of insurance and you are now left to get blood from a stone.... (or course, if you think they actually do have money then small claims court is the way to go).....
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