Hiring professional movers is a good way to alleviate some of the stress of relocating from one home to another. Still, it's not unusual for things to go awry during the moving process. One of the issues you may have to contend with is being injured by the moving professionals. Here's what you need to do in this situation.
Document the Injury As Soon As Possible
First, immediately notify the moving professionals about the injury. You have a greater chance of getting the employees' unfiltered statement before they call the office and get an official story that may leave the company room to avoid paying you for the accident. If the movers have already left your home, call the company to report the problem.
Second, seek medical treatment for the injury as soon as possible, especially if it's a head injury. Sometimes an injury, like a concussion, can seem mild but actually be very serious. Additionally, the doctor will document your injury, its severity, and the treatments required to heal the problem. This information is critical to ensuring you're fairly compensated for your injuries.
Last, be certain to document your injuries by taking pictures. Use your phone to record the movers' statements about what happened, or write down what they say. Presenting this evidence to the moving company may make it easier for you to recoup the cost of your medical bills and other losses.
Request the Company's Insurance Information
Many moving companies offer insurance that reimburses you if your belongings are broken or lost during the move. While this type of insurance is excellent for guarding against financial losses caused by the movers, it generally only covers damages to your things and typically doesn't extend to harm done to you. However, you should review the policy anyway to determine if there are provisions for physical injuries and the steps you need to take to file a claim.
More often than not, you'll need to file a claim with the company's general liability insurance provider. However, not all companies have this insurance, and not all states require movers to carry it. Some only have insurance that covers the cargo and vehicle, which generally won't cover injuries to customers. Ask the company about the type of insurance they have and the claims process. Alternatively, you can visit the U.S. Department of Transportation licensing and insurance website to lookup whether the company is covered.
Estimate Your Costs and Losses
If the company doesn't have the right type of insurance to cover payment for the accident, you may be able to recoup some losses by filing a claim with your homeowner's insurance. If this option is not available, you'll need to send the company a demand letter for payment for your injuries.
Determining how much to ask for can be tricky. Start with your actual out-of-pocket costs such as your medical bills, medication costs, and time lost from work. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may be able to also ask for pain and suffering for the discomfort the injury causes you and any associated side effects.
To calculate the amount to ask for, use a multiplier. Most insurance companies multiply your actual damages with a number ranging from 1.5 to 5 to calculate the amount of pain and suffering to award you. You can use the same scale to calculate your intangible damages. Chose the exact number to use based on the severity of your discomfort. Use numbers lower on the scale for mild temporary pain and higher numbers for long-term disability or excruciating pain.
Send a Demand Letter
Write a letter to the company detailing the incident and requesting compensation. Include a copy of pictures and other evidence to back up your claim. Provide a reasonable time limit for the company to respond, such as 30 days, and your contact information. Send the letter via certified mail to ensure the company received it.
You'll want to give the company plenty of opportunity to respond. However, if the company doesn't contact you or the two of you are unable to settle the issue, then your next step is to file a lawsuit with the court. If it comes to this, contact an attorney in your area for assistance with resolving the claim. For more information, reach out to a firm like Dunnigan & Messier P.C.
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