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Old 08-02-2012
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Re: My Boat was Hit Bad

I think one thing that is being missed here is that the operator of the other boat (presuming he is to be held 100% at fault, which appears to be the case) is liable for all CK's losses. If the other boat owner's insurance company manages to weasel out of paying up, he is still liable. For instance (and completely hypothetically), let's say that there was a clause in Mr. Powerboater's insurance policy that basically said that he wasn't covered if he operated his boat drunk or at night, and he hit CK's boat at 2am after downing a dozen shots. His insurance Co. might be off the hook, but he certainly isn't. I which case CK may have to sue his butt to get her boat fixed. But then Mr. Powerboater's homeowner's insurance will probably get involved (since that is the asset most likely to be in jeopardy if/when he loses).

More realistically, let's say that Mr. Powerboater's insurance refuses to pay more than $5K for the damages on CK's boat, since they claim that is all it is worth. If CK can prove that her boat is worth more, say $20K, Mr. Powerboater is on the hook for $20K, AS LONG AS CK DOESN'T ACCEPT THE INSURANCE COMPANY'S SETTLEMENT OFFER. Yes, she may ultimately have to take Mr. Powerboater to court over all this if he and his insurance company (or companies, since Mr. Powerboater's homeowner's insurance might come into play here) dig in their heels, but they probably won't over such a relatively small amount.

Bottom line is that if CK sticks to her guns and doesn't settle for less than ALL it takes to "make her financially whole" (i.e., cover all her losses due to Mr. Powerboater's negligence) she will probably eventually be fine. The payout here for the insurance company is far too small for them to spend much of their time and resources fighting a losing battle. Mr. Powerboater and his insurance don't really have much of a defense, as far as I can see. And in this case lawyers' fees (theirs AND hers, as they will have to pay all the lawyers if they lose) could easily top any reasonable payout in no time at all. If they think CK isn't going to cave easily, then they will take the cheaper way out and cave themselves.
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