Columbia, TN asked in Car Accidents and Business Law for Tennessee

Q: I am having trouble finding a lawyer to help with a commercial property damage claim/insurance company.

Someone drove their car into our building and it took out our HVAC unit/ductwork and damaged the metal building wall through to the inside. The insurance company refuses to pay the full amount - they approved the estimate we sent but insist on depreciating the value of the 5 year old unit which will leave us paying additional money for the replacement. We have been trying to operate our business (a retail store) with no AC and temps inside are intolerable - for us and potential customers. Is this normal and should we expect them to pay the full amount if they approved the estimate? They have agreed to add some for lost business but not enough to cover the remaining amount. Does 'suffering' come into play here because these are terrible working conditions - not to mention for our customers.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Anthony M. Avery
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Answered
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Hire an attorney file suit against all liable parties, such as driver, car owner, lessor, etc. If under $ 25K in damages, I would sue in Sessions to get to Court faster and cheaper. But you will probably have to try it twice that way. Owner may be judgment proof, so expect to recover from his insurance company ( which is not a defendant).

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Little Neck, NY

A: Unfortunately, the depreciation issue you mention does confront claimants in property losses such as yours, depending on the carrier and their philosophy toward customer service. My colleague raises a good point - explore the liability of all parties involved. Also review your policy. While the equipment may have depreciated, the fact remains that you need a working HVAC system to run your business, and that's the reason for obtaining an insurance policy. Good luck

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