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Old 01-07-2015, 14:09   #1
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Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

My wife and I sail out of New Buffalo, Michigan. Last year we decided to winterize our boat and leave it in the water using aerators. Everything was going great until March when our neighbors boat caught
fire. The fire department and police got there just in time to watch the fire spread from our neighbors boat to ours, completely destroying our boat. We are still waiting to hear if his insurance will pay our claim. His insurance tells us that if our neighbor was not negligent, then they are not responsible. Does anyone have any experience with a claim such as this?
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Old 01-07-2015, 14:15   #2
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

You would be better off looking for an actual lawyer than getting advice here.

I would think your insurance would pay your claim, and then do whatever they do in the background regarding the other boat's insurance without you involved.

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Old 01-07-2015, 14:55   #3
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

I would think that the cause of the fire is important, along with who is actually responsible.
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Old 01-07-2015, 14:59   #4
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
You would be better off looking for an actual lawyer than getting advice here.

I would think your insurance would pay your claim, and then do whatever they do in the background regarding the other boat's insurance without you involved.

Mark
I agree on both counts, 100%. Your boat burned. Whether the fire started by your own faulty electrical whatever, a dock electrical pylon, or your neighbor reinacting a Norwegian burial at sea - all of these should be covered by your insurance. They will settle with you, and then go after him/his insurance company.

Friend of mine's two-year old house burned down because of faulty chimney construction. Builder was clearly at fault. Insurance settled with owner and then recovered from builder. I think your boat situation would work the same way.
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Old 01-07-2015, 15:17   #5
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

yep, you don't need a lawyer.. your insurance company does! Have you filed a claim anywhere?
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Old 01-07-2015, 15:21   #6
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

Sorry to learn of the loss of your boat. Another forum member's boat was burned but not consumed while on the hard. That situation is in litigation, still. Since he has knowledge about the issue, you might send <minaret> a PM, describing the situation, and see what he may be able to tell you.

If you were insured, your insurance company may need a little prodding to get to work for you. If not, then you really need a lawyer, like months ago!

Good luck with this. It'll be a real learning experience.

Ann
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Old 01-07-2015, 15:25   #7
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
You would be better off looking for an actual lawyer than getting advice here.

I would think your insurance would pay your claim, and then do whatever they do in the background regarding the other boat's insurance without you involved.

Mark
What Mark said. Call your insurer. If you don't have insurance, then you do need legal advice, and you get that from a lawyer, not the internet.
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Old 01-07-2015, 16:24   #8
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

I would have thought that your insurer should pay you NOW and then pursue his insurer for recompense. If you don't have insurance, get lawyered up a.s.a.p.
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Old 01-07-2015, 17:05   #9
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

The OP didn't say if his boat was insured. Said he was trying to collect from the other guy's carrier.
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Old 01-07-2015, 17:23   #10
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

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Originally Posted by Burky View Post
My wife and I sail out of New Buffalo, Michigan. Last year we decided to winterize our boat and leave it in the water using aerators. Everything was going great until March when our neighbors boat caught
fire. The fire department and police got there just in time to watch the fire spread from our neighbors boat to ours, completely destroying our boat. We are still waiting to hear if his insurance will pay our claim. His insurance tells us that if our neighbor was not negligent, then they are not responsible. Does anyone have any experience with a claim such as this?
I'm an engineer and not a lawyer so what follows is not legal advice.

Legally you don't have a relationship with your neighbour's boat.

I would expect you to claim on your insurance and they would make a claim against your neighbour's boat insurer.

Why are you dealing with his insurer? If he's not insured that is not your problem.

Your insurer may also target the marina if your neighbour was not insured especially if your marina mandates insurance.

It's all about who has the capacity to pay and who is negligent.

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Old 01-07-2015, 17:33   #11
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

Would Burky ask his question if he had adequate insurance coverage?
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Old 01-07-2015, 17:52   #12
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

If you don't have insurance you need a lawyer

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Old 01-07-2015, 19:11   #13
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

Not a boat situation. But in a condo I just found out that when another unit's hot water heater failed and flooded my space, if the hot water heater was within it's life expectancy, and no other negligence, he was not responsible.maritime law is a bit different quite often, but, possibly, no negligence, no responsibility.
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Old 01-07-2015, 19:32   #14
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

If the OP has insurance, he puts in a claim with them, and under state law, typically, that starts a clock and they have 30 days to pay up or they may lose the rights to debate the price they'll have to pay. Everything varies with state law, and your insurance policy, the important thing is to FILE A CLAIM by certified mail and START THE CLOCK.
Your local, county, or state Insurance Department usually will give you the necessary legal advice to get started--free. And they know the law.


The other guy's insurance is only obligated to HIM, according to HIS POLICY, and neither one will discuss that much with you.


If you have no insurance, you file a claim BY CDRTIFIED MAIL against him and against his insurer, again, starting the clock. If you've gotten no reply by the 30th day...often you can simply go to court and start collections. Whether he is insured or whether he has to sell his house and give you 10% of every paycheck for 20 years, that's another matter. START THE CLOCK.


When you file a claim with your insurer (assuming you have one) they will settle under the terms of your policy--although they may try to cheat you on the value. Again, a state insurance department can tell you what options for determining valuation are, and aren't, allowed. Your insurer, as a separate matter, goes "in subrogation" against the other party. Meaning, they try to recover in your name. They sue the other guy and his insurer, as your subrogate. And that's their problem.


If they can recover, great. If not...at least your insurance may make you whole.


But check your policy, CALL YOUR INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, MAIL THE NOTICES, AND START THE CLOCK.


Sometimes you get lucky, someone gets sloppy, thirty days go by and bingo, you're entitled to get paid without further discussion or delay. (And to collect interest for any delay.)


Make sure the claim also provides for any environmental and salvage fees and disposal fees, not just the value of your boat.
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Old 01-07-2015, 19:41   #15
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Re: Our Boat Burned, Need Legal Advise

Isn't the reason marinas require liability insurance to protect other boats in the marina? If so I would think the firer's policy would pay for the firee's damage, unless the damage is over 4 million...
I wouldn't like to make a claim on my insurance and lose the no claim bonus or pay the 4-5k deductible.
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