What Do You Do When Your Moving Company Destroys Everything You Own?

What should you do when you carefully pack all of your belongings into a truck for a cross country move and the driver promptly drives under a bridge that’s a couple feet shorter than said truck? That’s the question that one couple is asking after their move from Boston to Oakland, CA went horribly awry. They shared their story with a Boston alumni email list and one user posted it to LiveJournal. Their letter, plus a gallery of photos generously donated by eyewitness (and Flickr user) K a t m, inside.

Hello all,

This is my first time posting to this list and I’m hoping that someone will be able to help! My husband and I contracted with a moving company, Broadway Express, to drive our belongings from Boston to Oakland, CA. Yesterday, after the truck was packed by local professional movers, the Broadway Express driver drove down Mt. Vernon Street, turned onto Storrow Drive and promptly hit the Longfellow Bridge (11′ clearance and a 13′ 6″ truck), shearing off the entire top and sides of the truck and distributing our belongings across the road. We have the standard moving insurance offered by this company, which is $0.60/lb. In retrospect, we should probably have tried to get better coverage, but who would have thought that the truck driver would try to scrape the top 2.5 feet off of his vehicle?

My question for the list is: does anyone have experience in dealing with a total moving disaster? How can we maximize our reimbursement? Most of the furniture was damaged and a good deal was totally destroyed. The moving company claims that we need to pay for the move in order to file a claim, so they have already charged my credit card. This was our first experience using professional movers and I can’t say I enjoyed it.

Thank you in advance for any advice and let me know if you’d like to see pictures — I have a ton.

Best,
Unfortunate People

Has anything like this ever happened to you? Any advice for these people?

Don’t hire Broadway Express as your moving company [Universal Hub]

More info on the bridge crash
[LiveJournal]
(Photos: K a t m )

GALLERY







END

Comments

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  1. semanticantics says:

    The picture of the driver on his cell phone on the side of the road looks like a great Snickers commercial, “Not going anywhere for awhile?”

  2. parliboy says:

    I’m pretty sure driving under a low overpass fails the reasonable person test for negligence. Unless your contract exempts them from negligence (unlikely), then all bets are off on the 60 cents per pound thing. I hope you don’t have to lawyer up, but it may come to that.

  3. SinisterMatt says:

    Oops. That’s really stinks!

    Does your homeowner’s/renter’s insurance cover that kind of thing, in addition to the mover’s insurance? Just curious?

    Cheers!

  4. mzs says:

    Ouch, at least they can get a smaller place now.

  5. nrich239 says:

    Find a lawyer and take them to court for full re-reimbursement of your goods. Also, you should not have to pay for the move seeing as how the move didn’t actually occurred. You may have to pay a small amount for the labor of the packing crew but that should be it.

    That wreck was caused by total negligence on the drivers part. There is no way he should have attempted to cross under that bridge with that truck.

    Good luck and let us know how it works out

  6. BoomerFive says:

    @parliboy: I only disagree with one thing.

    Lawyer up.

    Now.

  7. fostina1 says:

    the trucker was in an accident, seems his insurance should cover it

  8. Wait for the settlement offer ….. then hire a sleeze bag lawyer. Never know for sure but the settlement offer might be quite generous.

  9. sprocket79 says:

    Wow they’re beyond unfortunate. And to think, when I started reading this, I thought their biggest problem was the fact that they were moving to Oakland.

  10. magic8ball says:

    They already charged your credit card? For a service that they demonstrably did not provide? Chargeback.

  11. katylostherart says:

    find lawyer, get advice now. that’s not reasonable damage you know. that’s not oops we dropped the tv. that’s oops we kind of did to your furniture what good sized housefire would do.

  12. AndyRogers says:

    The picture of the sofa by itself on the road is so sad…

  13. chiieddy says:

    I used to commute down Storrow Drive into Cambridge and a week wouldn’t go by when some idiot decided to ignore the laws regarding height limits on their vehicles and destroyed their vehicle, damaged the roadway or ruined goods they were carrying. I’ve seen entire tops torn off box trucks on this road, making very large sardine cans. This is BY FAR the worst I’ve ever seen. Since your driver ignored local laws and NUMEROUS overheight signs posted, they are subject to fines from the government and you may have charges of gross negligence against them. Contact a LAWYER (God knows there are enough in Beacon Hill).

  14. BingoLong says:

    To be fair, the movers did make it 1/3000 of the way to Oakland. (And about half their stuff made it another few hundred yards after that.) Prorate the cost! (and then sue for damages)

  15. puffyshirt says:

    talk about fitting a square peg in a round hole… sheesh. i would sign nothing, get a lawyer asap.

  16. bobbleheadr says:

    Call your homeowners/renters insurance. They may actually be able to help here.

  17. ffmariners says:

    Chargeback + ask for reimbursement of goods (be ready to show proof of worth for each item damaged/destroyed)

    Possibly get ready to sue

    I think a moving company would be considered a common carrier… if that is the case the only times they are NOT liable are:
    -An act of nature (self-explanatory… tornado for example)
    -An act of the public enemies (terrorists blowing up your truck)
    -Fault or fraud by the shipper (not packing your goods well enough)
    -An inherent defect in the goods (shipping milk in a non reefer truck)

    However… if they are a private carrier look over the contract.

  18. jdjonsson says:

    Contact your homeowner/renter’s insurance company immediately. They may be able to make it all right, plus, they have their own lawyers to handle stuff like this for you.

  19. BobbyMoon says:

    WOW, just wow…

  20. MaxSmart32 says:

    This is honestly horrible. I thoughts go out to this family and I hope that everything turns out okay for them.

  21. privatejoker75 says:

    chargeback asap, thats a load of bs that they have to charge you in order to process the claim or whatever

  22. weakdome says:

    As if traffic on Storrow Drive weren’t already bad enough, sheesh.
    This makes the 3rd time I’ve seen this happen.
    I think it’s (mostly) due to drivers following their GPS instead of actually, oh, reading posted signs.

  23. FrankenPC says:

    Movers are bonded and insured. You will probably have to initiate the action through your insurance company and they will suck the cash out of the moving company.

  24. bobbleheadr says:

    @magic8ball: hold off on that. Depending on how their insurance works the payment might need to be processed for it to kick in (I know thats stupid, but it makes sense that they would need payment to activate the contract.)

  25. TheShepherd says:

    there are clearly posted signs that Storrow is not for commercial vehicles. Regardless of how much insurance you took out, this was clearly a case of gross negligence as chieddy indicated

  26. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    wow…

    my heart goes out to you guys, best of luck.

  27. ffmariners says:

    @ffmariners: I just looked it up… Broadway Express provides moving services under their common carrier authority

  28. krztov says:

    lol ok, so who here from b0st0n lj community put this up? was reading it this morning on the community

  29. Skankingmike says:

    I would think Home owners insurance would cover this, but that would depend on the policy.

    I would consult an attorney as the drivers insurance should cover this as I’d imagine this business is insured and has driver insurance as well both should easily cover this however they don’t see it this way see below.

    I would believe that regardless of what you paid for insurance from this company should not matter, as this is a gross act of incompetence and if you took them to court you should win.

    I’d sue for around 50k.

  30. SkokieGuy says:

    If you maintained your homeowner’s insure, it may likely cover the damage.

    It may also be worth paying for a consultation with a lawyer. The insurance you took out with the mover is generally understood to cover accidental damage that is routine in the course of a move. What happened here is gross negligence. Was the driver ticketed by police? Was a drug / alcohol test performed? Even if the police didn’t do this, most companies who employ drivers require testing after an accident. Is this the company’s policy and did they follow their own policy?

  31. MyPetFly says:

    That makes me cringe. We had a cross-country move in 2004, from Columbus, Ohio to San Diego, California (yay, ocean again!).

    What we thought was a moving company was actually an agent, and the deposit we paid was actually their fee for performing a service we could have performed ourselves. They said that everything would be shipped on the same truck all the way, and it wasn’t, the shipment was a few weeks late, and we ended up having to pay a couple of thousand extra because the weight was underestimated, or so we were told.

    Never again. Next time, we’ll pack what we need in the cars and ship the rest using a freight company, which I’ve heard is a better option.

  32. LorneReams says:

    The first thing to do is get the trucking insurance and start from there. Usually all the insurance people will talk with each other and determine how much each of them are responsible and will come back with an offer. You are going to be dealing with at least three possible different carriers (voluntary moving insurance, trucking/auto policy, and the insurance the business has). As for paying before a claim…I would have laughed at them and went straight to their moving/trucking policy. Might want to get ready for a charge-back.

  33. SkokieGuy says:

    I would suggest NOT doing a chargeback. The charge is fraudulent, since they charged for a service (moving to Oakland) that was not delivered.

    Once you intstitute a chargeback and it’s sucessful, you now you have less to go after them for legally. (The credit card bill is no longer part of the damages, since you’ve remedied the problem before a lawsuit is filed).

  34. B says:

    @parliboy: Plus Storrow drive is clearly marked as “cars only.” The driver is clearly, totally and completely at fault, and the moving company’s insurance should cover everything.

  35. CaptainConsumer says:

    Having worked at a moving company long ago (mid 90’s), it will be a FIGHT for you to get more than the .60 cents per pound per article the insurance defaults to if you didn’t buy more insurance. The moving companies hold this to be as self evident as the Constitution.

    You MAY have better luck suing the driver for HIS personal negligence because the company guaranteed will say YOU signed off on the 60 cents.

    You MIGHT be able to ge the company IF they provide the GPS for the truck if it’s company owned.

    I hope you do get your money back (obviously your stuff is ruined)

  36. ztoop says:

    You should carefully read your contract, and contact your renter’s/home owner insurance company as well (they typically provide moving insurance). Typically insurance covers accidents, however this was negligence by the driver, and so they should be fully liable for all expenses.

  37. sir_pantsalot says:

    ♪ Always look on the brite side of life… wistle…wistle..wistle ♪

    At least they will have lots of closet space in their new place.

  38. ffmariners says:

    Everyone needs to remember they are a common carrier… which means they are automatically liable unless:
    1) act of nature
    2) act of enemy of the state
    3) fault or fraud of shipper (the homeowners)
    or
    4) inherent nature of the goods

    because of the gross negligence (unforeseeable) they should be able to sue for more than the 60 cents. It is foreseeable that a few things will get broken on the drive… just because of turns and bumps and yada yada and that is what the 60 cents coverage is for. But it is not foreseeable that the truck will break everything running into a bridge…. Let a judge decide!

  39. mbd says:

    > the trucker was in an accident, seems his insurance should cover it

    This is NOT an accident, it is negligence. Truckers have access to maps indicating bridge heights, road weight limits, etc. so that they can plan their routes in advance. Nothing about hitting a bridge is ever accidental.

    This person NEEDS a lawyer.

  40. Angryrider says:

    Wow…
    If I move that far, I’d probably get rid of most of my possessions, especially the shelves, unfoldable tables, tvs, etc.
    Good luck with the lawsuit!

  41. SOhp101 says:

    @SkokieGuy: Probably the best advice on here.

    Do NOT file a chargeback. This is downright negligence and because of the very low insurance coverage, a lawsuit will probably be your course of action.

    Some people have mentioned homeowner’s insurance, which you should definitely look into because that will probably end up being a lot easier for you to get reimbursed.

  42. bobbleheadr says:

    @SOhp101: In a lot of cases they will pay you THEN go after the movers for the money, and believe me INSURANCE COMPANY X is a lot scarier to a company then you are.

  43. The_AntiVirus says:

    The driver should of known there wouldn’t be enough clearance to make so why did he continue? You should never go anywhere without first knowing how tall your vehicle is. I don’t know if they teach you this or not but thats one of the first things I was taught.

  44. Kounji says:

    You did not receive reasonable satisfaction with the move you shouldn’t have let them charge your card. Go find a lawyer a sew them with negligence in regards to the contract.

    I hope to the heavens you read the contract and don’t have to go through arbitration

  45. redhelix says:

    Which part of ‘cars only’ did the driver not understand about Storrow Drive?

  46. econobiker says:

    Looks like a fairly new Peterbilt medium duty truck set up for local moving only though. It doesn’t have a traditional sleeper but is a four door “crew” type cab unless they converted the rear cab as a sleeper. Kind of odd setup for across country moving unless they do hotshot commercial deliveries and are picking up extra work moving consumers…

    Believe me that this driver not only is on the hook for their belongings but he just totalled ($20-50,000 worth)the van (enclosed box area) body if the truck frame is not bent also…

  47. MissTic says:

    additionally, contact these folks -

    [www.fmcsa.dot.gov] [nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov]

  48. Randomeis says:

    @MyPetFly: We had a good experience w/ our Pod/Relocube when we made our cross country move. Might save a bit if you only have a few rooms to move.

  49. hamsangwich says:

    I would contact a lawyer, I would also research whether this moving company is actually allowed to truck interstate, because if they are not you have them by the balls to replace your stuff.

    Where was your driver from? It’s bizarre that a driver comes to pick-up in Boston, which you would assume he is familiar with, and proceed to drive on Storrow. Everyone knows you can’t go on Storrow with a truck and if you don’t know there are 500 signs, not to mention every car you pass will honk at you like crazy trying to get you to stop.

  50. MyPetFly says:

    Here’s the company’s website:

    Broadway Express

    It looks like they do quite a bit of commercial moving, all of it probably badly.

  51. ilovemom says:

    My favorite part of the Boston is watching the students sardine can their U-Hauls on Sep 1. Love it. They even have those cloth signs that hang down and drag across the top of trucks that are too tall (yeah, they say in big letters “CARS ONLY”). Way to prove you’re worth that $50K/yr tuition. I won’t go near Storrow in a car on moving day.

  52. EBone says:

    On the other hand, all that damage was bound to happen to their stuff once they got to Oakland anyways..

  53. SkokieGuy says:

    @hamsangwich: Boston drivers honk? Stop your lies!!!

    I’m from Chicago, from a car racing family and a very agressive (yet safe) driver. I remember being in Boston as a child, and to this day, terrified from the memories.

    Parking on both sides of narrow streets, barely wide enough for 1 car, but with two way traffic.

    Cars using the sidewalk as a passing lane.

    Cars using median strips between oncoming traffic as parking spaces.

    And BTW, that no name fish place on the pier? I was unimpressed.

  54. consumerd says:

    @SkokieGuy:

    I agree, I wouldn’t do a chargeback, they just might let it go through and then they can say “you never paid” and be out just the moving fees which could be considerably less than what you lost.

  55. ThunderRoad says:

    1) Pay them the moving fees with your CC. You can always dispute later if need be and at least you’d get your stuff.
    2) Check with your homeowners/renters insurance – it might be covered

  56. SkokieGuy says:

    On the other hand, not to fully Boston bash, I do love Boston baked beans. Yes, the candy, not actual baked beans.

  57. MyPetFly says:

    @Randomeis:

    We considered them, actually, but they were beyond our budget. I guess you get what you pay for. : ) I wish we’d used them now, simply for the fact that they’re probably easier to use.

    Snippets from the Broadway Express website:

    Moving with Broadway Express gives you peace of mind… And Eliminates Stress

    At Broadway Express, preparing you and your family for a smooth move is everyday business to us. The key for a smooth move is to be organized. Planning ahead will help you make the relocation process a much more pleasant experience.

    The art of moving, like any craft, takes years of professional training. Attention to every detail, and a group of people with the passion for excellence. Training is ongoing for the members of the Broadway Express team.

    By using the latest developments in equipment, packing materials, and techniques we ensure premium protection of your valued possessions.

    The experience and professionalism of our drivers and moving teams enhances the protection and safety of your possessions.

  58. Mudpuddle says:

    You should probably contact a lawyer for some advice. Seems there are a lot of hands involved in this one. I have a new name for the moving company “Spread Moving Services” we can spread your stuff out real good.

  59. hamsangwich says:

    @SkokieGuy: Bah, you pussy! :-)

    I lived in Boston for 5 years, with a car, and frequented Storrow. Drivers always honked at trucks because you don’t want them hitting the bridge and causing you hours of delays. The honking might also include a finger, but they try to alert the drivers before they make a mistake.

  60. Beelzebub says:

    Lawyer up and consult local laws. Count your blessings that they didn’t cross state lines, as jurisdiction would no longer belong to the state, and there are very few Federal laws to protect you.

    As the truck appears to say “Broadway Express”, and Broadway Express is based in Illinois, it looks like they were not a job-out, it was the company directly, and they failed to obey posted road signs. Hello, negligence!

    I just feel bad that your life is going to be a mess for the next few years, especially if the contract states that disputes must be resolved under IL law. That would suck.

  61. moore850 says:

    1. dont use professional movers.
    2. you can’t sign away liability for negligence, so get a lawyer to hack them to pieces and pay you for it.
    3. dont use professional movers!

  62. kepler11 says:

    How did they get as far as the bridge itself? I would expect that some authority might have installed the clanking weights warning system at the height limit to warn stray truck drivers that they’re about to hit. Or maybe this doesn’t happen that often?

  63. khiltd says:

    This happened to me when I used Starving Students to go from Colorado to Houston. After dumping the piles of splinters that used to be my furniture on my living room floor the driver asked me how big of a tip I wanted to give him. I paid for the whole thing with a credit card so all I had to do was dispute the charge. My employer still reimbursed my moving expenses, so I actually ended up making money on the deal and didn’t bother suing them, but man did it suck.

  64. bravo says:

    Boston sucks

  65. strangeffect says:

    @ilovemom:

    Many trucks have tried Storrow.

    Many have failed.

  66. MasterShazbot says:

    If I ever get professional movers to move my stuff I’m using lead shot as packing material. Each box is going to weigh 300lbs. As long as I don’t have more than $180 of stuff per box I’m ok :)

  67. Skankingmike says:

    @moore850: you know i said the same thing in another thread and i was called a Troll.. yet here we are again,

    DO NOT USE PROFESSIONAL MOVERS THEY ARE THIEVES!!!!

    didn’t anybody see funny farm

  68. Skiffer says:

    Eh, sucks, but doesn’t really surprise me – trucks run into bridges more often than you think. U-hauls / rent-a-trucks even more so…

    At least it wasn’t a refurbished contaminated pump for a nuclear plant headed to Jersey…not that that’s ever happened…

  69. picardia says:

    I can’t believe Broadway Express had the gall to try to charge these people for a move that never occurred due to their driver’s gross negligence. Check the homeowners’ insurance and talk to a lawyer, immediately.

    On a personal level, I’d like to express my sympathy; I lost all my possessions in a fire once, and few things are as overwhelmingly stressful and disconcerting. And you guys had this on top of the drain of moving. Good luck to you all.

  70. BenitaMajumdar says:

    Hi,

    My fiancee and I moved from Washington DC to Denver, CO about 2 years
    ago. We hired “professional” movers to get our stuff out there. The
    company was UNITED VAN LINES who was contracted by JOHNSON STORAGE &
    MOVING (based in Denver). We thought we were in good hands and had the
    same basic insurance you did.

    We got a call ON THE WAY to meet the movers at our new loft and a rep
    from UNITED VAN LINES told us that the truck had caught fire in Grand
    Island, NE and everything we owned was completely destroyed. We were
    devastated. We actually went to look at the remains and walked away
    with a small cardboard box full of belongings. But the fire truly did
    destroy everything.

    We estimated our total loss at $61,000. UNITED VAN LINES generously
    offered $2,000. We laughed. They laughed back. We contacted lawyers,
    did research and called everyone we possibly could to help us.

    The moving companies refused to budge. However, just before we filed
    suit against them for negligence (oh yeah, the driver of our truck fled
    the scene and left his wife to fill out the paper-work. He was never
    seen again. Terrific guy…great contributor to the human race), we
    contacted our Renter’s Insurance. The insurance company, TRAVELERS
    INSURANCE (who is pheneomenal by the way), agreed to give us the maximum
    coverage for the fire. In exchange, we forfeited the right to sue
    UNITED VAN LINES. They sued them and sucked them dry. We got just over
    50% of the money back, which was a LOT more than UNITED VAN LINES’
    pathetic legal crack-squad offered.

    So I recommend getting in touch with your renter’s insurance. If you
    have none or they won’t help, I would recommend getting EVERY BIT of
    information about the truck, driver and anything else you can to
    possibly prove negligence, drug use, anything. Ask the for the driver’s
    Truck Weigh-Ins, ask for anything public about him, search on Google for
    any information about the driver. Also think about paying some money to
    those “informative” web sites, such as Zabasearch, who provide detailed
    info on just about anyone. I also recommend contacting the local media
    in the town you left and the town you entered (Boston and Oakland).

    Once you get this information, talk to a lawyer and carefully present it
    to the moving company. If they don’t want to settle, unleash the full
    story to your local media and let them plaster this story everywhere.
    Talk to the local “Vigilante Reporter” (every city has one) who may be
    willing to investigate for you.

    Lots of options, so make sure you check into every one. Good luck and
    keep your head up!

    - The Rebuilding Denver Couple

  71. tqbf says:

    Call your current homeowners insurance firm, and ask them to subrogate a claim against the mover’s insurance. Don’t bother talking to the mover or their insurance company: they will actively try to screw you.

    The “lawyer! lawyer!” comments here sound nice and satisfying. The problem is, they’re going to take 2-3 years to resolve, during which time you’ll receive no compensation for your lost articles.

  72. redkamel says:

    FREEZE the payment, call a lawyer ASAP.
    If the payment went through, document that they told you HAD to pay to file a claim (the lawyer might be able to get that money back)

    Workem for every cent you can. Mental anguish etc…losing all your belonging in the middle of a move (during, I imagine, a new job or marriage or something or whyever you moved) is a big freaking deal and Id want all the money I could get ASAP.

  73. MyPetFly says:

    @Skankingmike:

    >>DO NOT USE PROFESSIONAL MOVERS THEY ARE THIEVES!!!!

    I hate to be this blunt, but professional movers are generally people that have strong backs and weak minds, supervised by Teamsters and mobsters.

    Okay, I’m ready for my blindfold. Can I have a last cigarette?

  74. redkamel says:

    oh yeah, and call the news. that might get you money fast.

    PS I have no experience with this and no law experience. I just feel really bad for you guys, and this is what I would do.

  75. cmdrsass says:

    In Boston, you know when college begins and ends by the news reports of moving trucks, especially Uhauls, being opened like sardine cans on Storrow Drive.

  76. BStu says:

    @kepler11: There are countless signs on that road warning you to not drive on it with a truck, but that’s never stopped people. Sights like this are an epidemic around September 1. Its usually someone renting a truck and ignoring the signs, sometimes continue to drive for a mile a so not realizing they took off the roof like a can opener. Boston as a community never fails to find this hilarious so there always seems to be a ton of pictures of the damage. Good thing, too, as it seems to be a good source of evidence for potential civil lawsuits.

    Side note, when I saw this on uHub I thought this seemed like a Consumerist story. Guess I was right.

  77. MyPetFly says:

    @cmdrsass:

    Who in college needs a moving truck? If you’ve got more than a backpack and a suitcase, you’re bringing too much junk to school. : )

  78. What do you do? You file a claim against them/their insurance.

    /Didn’t RTFA

  79. TheShepherd says:

    @MyPetFly: people who want to live off campus?

  80. MyPetFly says:

    @TheShepherd:

    Good point. : )

  81. sassfactor4 says:

    I had all of my belongings crushed via Door to Door moving, I paid for the move but had the full insurance claim handed to me with very little red tape. I went to the delivery site, took a lot of pictures, mailed them to the claims department and within a week or so everything was squared away.

    The most annoying thing I had to deal with was the storage place not allowing me to throw out my crushed belongings on-site as many of them were large furniture pieces too large for their dumpster.

    You know that and having to rebuy everything I owned.

  82. JiminyChristmas says:

    I think that for the 60 cent/pound insurance agreement to be enforceable, the mover would have to have met some commonly understood standard of care. That probably precludes driving into a bridge. As moore850 mentioned, no matter what a company makes you sign as a condition of doing business they can’t indemnify themselves against actual negligence.

    Considering that the truck driver likely broke several laws in the process of destroying the OP’s stuff, establishing negligence should not be a problem. It would be really helpful to know what kind of insurance, if any, the OP has. Full replacement value? Does it even cover belongings in transit?

  83. TechnoDestructo says:

    I saw the aftermath of a moving truck that had ROLLED somewhere in the California desert a couple years ago. Sprayed its contents across a couple hundred feet of highway.

  84. irishlnz says:

    I know this has been said ad nausem, but you need a lawyer immediately. Do not talk with the movers/insurance companies or anyone else until you have representation. It’s key that you get all the information you have regarding the move (contract etc) to a lawyer who specializes in negligence claims. Since the driver of the truck is likely an agent for the moving company, you could have claims against him personally (for negligence) as well as the moving company as his employer. After seeing that picture and hearing the stories about storrow drive, I think you will be hearing from the moving company regarding settlement of the claim as soon as it is filed.

    Good luck!

  85. Michifernication says:

    I work for an attorney’s office and we’ve been handling a case similar to this one for some time now. Unfortunately there are a lot of technicalities that these moving companies use to get around the system. Your best bet would be to take as many photos of the damaged goods as possible and get an attorney ASAP. I would also advise that you start looking into repurchasing replacements for your damaged goods little by little because this sort of case is never resolved over night.

  86. keith4298 says:

    @SkokieGuy: Where did you go to law school? Just because they no longer have to sue over the cost of the move doesn’t mean that they don’t have a cause of action upon which relief can be granted.

    I’d say that you don’t even have to hire a lawyer. Save the money and sue them pro se. With these pictures and a truck that clearly had no business being on that road, you could write your complaint in crayon and come out a winner.

    They will either settle or go bankrupt.

  87. AlexPDL says:

    Get a lawyer now. I had a similar issue and it turned out to be worth it. Do check your renter’s insurance. Thankfully ours covered the replacement of all of our belongings. A lawyer will help you navigate some of this terrain. No, not all lawyers are sleezy. Aim to get replacement value, NOT actual value at the time of accident.

  88. warf0x0r says:

    Do they have an MBAA?

  89. neuman1812 says:

    is it sad that my car is in one of those pictures? :)

  90. MrsLopsided says:

    Broadway Express gets good reviews. Hopefully it works out for the poster.

    Broadway Express Reviews (287 total – 273 good/9 neutral)
    [www.movingscam.com]

  91. coym says:

    I work for a logistics company so I can probably answer this pretty well. Because the product didn’t complete it’s journey (ie, the freight didn’t deliver, which breaks the contract) you don’t legally (not legal advise, I’m not a lawyer after all) have to pay for the shipping charges to file the claim. Call the moving comapnies phone number and ask for the claims department. Get a fax number where you can file the claim and then just come up with a form that has where it picked up and where it was supposed to go to, the value (hard to judge with personal belongings, espically sued ones) and how much you want to file a claim for. Fax it over and have them sign and send back to you as confimation. They have 60 days to either deny or accept. Make sure you include a way for them to get in touch with you. If they deny, lawyer up, or try filing against their insurance company directly. Again this isn’t legal advise, and the company I work for doesn’t handle personal belongings or used items. we only do business to business to shipments so it may not work exactly the same way but hopefully this gives you a good place to start. Sorry it’s so long and hopefully this actually gets to them

  92. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    To recap what others have said, have your lawyer contact any and all insurance companies that you or the movers may have.

    Now on to my personal thoughts: I have a Class A CDL w/ Doubles and Triples endorsement. Although I’m not too experienced, I doubt it will ever change that whenever I drive a rig under any structure, even when I can clearly see from the posted signs that the structure is much higher than my rig, it scares the piss out of me.

    A driver should ALWAYS know the exact height of his rig. And if for whatever reason he is unsure, the standard height of a van trailer is 13’6″, 2’6″ higher that the posted sign of 11″ on that bridge! I could understand if he hit a 13’6″ structure or even a 13’0″ structure (subconsciously thinking 13′ bridge, 13′ trailer, oops for got about the inches…), but ELEVEN FEET?!?

    This moron deserves to lose his CDL permanently.

  93. Veeber says:

    @Skankingmike: But if you can’t track down enough friends to help you move across the country what are you going to do then?

  94. TKOtheKDR says:

    Definately a case of overt negligence. Through the principle of “vicarious liability” you might be able to sue both the company AND the negligent driver.

  95. spinachdip says:

    @Veeber: If your friends won’t take off from work for better part of a week, lend their muscles and joints and vehicles and help you lug all your possessions across the country, all in exchange for promise of beer and pizza, they’re not really friends. And since you don’t have any friends, one could reasonably conclude that you are a horrible person.

    On the other hand, freight or the self-pack pod thingies seem to work well for a lot of people.

  96. Beelzebub says:

    @keith4298 “I’d say that you don’t even have to hire a lawyer. Save the money and sue them pro se. With these pictures and a truck that clearly had no business being on that road, you could write your complaint in crayon and come out a winner.
    “:

    I completely disagree. You never know what’s going to happen, and with a case like this, you’ll probably recover costs anyway, so go get a good lawyer and settle or smash-in-face.

  97. baristabrawl says:

    @SkokieGuy: I am noting if not attentive in traffic, when the light is green, you go. NOW! Since I live in Indianapolis, if you honk at someone they give you the finger (which is illegal and an act of road rage) but people do it. I’m not talking about passing out on the horn letting it blare for as long as you follow the person, I’m talking about a “toot.”

    I have said a zillion times, “If I were in Chicago I could honk at them.” They don’t play in Chicago. As soon as the light turns green you better be on the gas and God help you if your car stalls.

  98. mike says:

    While I would agree that you should take them to court, but only as a last resort.

    See what they are offering. If they don’t pony up and reimburse you PLUS damages, then I’d slap them with a lawsuit.

    I find it’s always better to settle out of court than settle in court because you never know what’s going to happen.

  99. @MyPetFly Having moved from MA to Oregon and then from NJ to Oregon within the last 5 years (don’t ask LOL) I can say that Freight services are actually a good option. My wife, and I used ABF Freight for both moves, and they were excellent to deal with.

  100. Farquar says:

    @Beelzebub:

    Methinks your understanding of jurisdiction and choice of laws is incorrect. Whether the truck crossed state lines wouldn’t have any bearing the ability to apply state law, or the venue. Not really an issue.. but be careful what you say on the internets.. people will believe you.

  101. MyPetFly says:

    @TakingItSeriously:

    Roger that! I’ll keep ABF in mind for the next time we move cross-country, which will hopefully never happen! : )

  102. rasbill says:

    working at a self storage facility just outside of boston i will tell u, i have never seen a good moving company, they all handle your stuff like a bag of trash

  103. satoru says:

    This is pretty much an annual occurrence, though a bit early since the usual “Stupid Student U-Haul” migration doesn’t begin until September. If they rebuild the Longfellow bridge, I hope they make it with a 14′ clearance so this doesn’t keep happening all the time. Though it would rob us of a source of annual entertainment. Even across the river in Cambridge, there’s a similar underpass on Memorial that claims a ton of trucks every year, as they try to go under it for some god forsaken reason.

    I’ve often wondered if the “Reverse the Curse” sign on the Longfellow bridge referred to the Red Sox, or the bevy of trucks it has claimed over the years! Surely the spirits of many trucks still haunt Storrow Drive during the day!

  104. solipsistnation says:

    Somebody tried to drive an 18-wheeler down Storrow? Dang.

    Clearly the driver needs to be put away somewhere where he won’t be able to hurt himself or anyone else. Padded walls sound like just the thing.

  105. @khiltd: So how big of a tip DID you give the driver?

  106. satoru says:

    @solipsistnation: To that point how do you even get an 18 wheeler on Storrow? He was obviously going east on it, maybe you load up the truck near Fenway, then get on from there? I can’t think of a way on, that doesn’t involve driving under another bridge that would have taken it out earlier, or doesn’t involve using 10ft wide side street with no turning clearance.

  107. satoru says:

    @Pixelantes Anonymous: The only tip I’d give the driver is, next time don’t go on Storrow.

  108. benh57 says:

    OP mentioned the stuff was going to storage (on the other site) — which means they didn’t really need it anyway. This will probably end up saving money in the long run. Most people with storage units pay for them for 3-4 years, never use the crap then end up getting rid of it. It’s a good racket for the storage companies..

  109. MyPetFly says:

    @benh57:

    Heck, I had a storage unit for about 21 years — just one unit. At various times I’ve had two, including that one.

    Yes, I’m a pack rat.

  110. MrsLopsided says:

    @TakingItSeriously: I’ve used ABF’s [www.upack.com] services and would also recommend them. They park a semi trailer in your driveway & give you 3 business at each end to load and unload the trailer. You pay by linear footage not weight.

  111. msbask says:

    After 10 years of being in the business of insuring moving companies………..

    I don’t know where anyone is getting their information regarding the 60¢/lb only being applicable in the case of accidents, but they’re wrong. The carrier is only legally liable for 60¢/lb *regardless* of the reason for your loss or damage (that’s why they call it “legal liability”. Now, you might be able to sue them… and you just might win (you even SHOULD win)… but their insurance carrier’s liability is only to pay you 60¢/lb.

    On top of that, you’re not going to get ‘replacement cost’ through any settlement with the mover’s cargo insurance company. Any settlement will be at what your stuff is worth now, not what it would cost you to replace. There’s a reason that moving company’s offer you separate insurance coverage, and it’s not their problem that you gambled and lost (even if it *IS* their fault).

    Also, almost nobody’s homeowners insurance will cover their stuff while it’s in the possession of a moving company. There are exceptions (Chubb is one that I can think of off the top of my head), but as a rule, your homeowners or renters insurance is not going to cover it.

    And to the poster who said: “If I ever get professional movers to move my stuff I’m using lead shot as packing material. Each box is going to weigh 300lbs. As long as I don’t have more than $180 of stuff per box I’m ok :) “………… The only person you’re screwing with that routine is you. Local moves are charged by the hour. How much longer do you think it’ll take your movers with stupidly heavy boxes. Long-distance moves are done by weight. I don’t think I need to explain the stupidity of your plan there, do I?

    Lastly, I don’t understand how anyone thinks this ‘accident” is any different than any other kind of negligence by the mover. If the driver leaves the door of the truck open, and half your stuff falls off, that’s negligence. If he tries to carry your piano up the stairs alone because he’s thinks he’s the hulk, when he drops it, that’s negligence, too. But it’s still all only worth 60¢/lb.

  112. arl84 says:

    Great googly moogly!

    I would be horrified if this happened. HORRIFIED. I would also call lawyer(s) ASAP. Can we have a follow-up story on this? I would really like to know what happens.

    That is unbelievable…. I’m really sorry that happened to you.

  113. daspiz says:

    Unfortunately, MSBASK is correct, I was house counsel for a moving company that shall remain nameless. Moving companies are in a regulated industry that has gotten an exemption from normal liability. $.60 per pound is all you will get unless as one other reader pointed out, they were illegally transporting your goods cross country and only had license for in state or you purchased additional insurance. Another couple of items would be to verify that they were otherwise legally operating (many are not). Make copies of everything and keep it in a safe place. Also, I would document every step you take, because there are time limits and other procedural items that will trip you up if not careful. BTW- no longer counsel for moving company and would never do so again.

    I would look very carefully at the moving statute for MA- it may be different from my state.

  114. fuzzyprint says:

    My bro (who is a professional driver) tells me that nowadays companies are hiring untrained drivers and not training them properly in the ways of… OH JUST BUYING A TRUCKER ROUTE MAP. Yes, a map that explains truck routes and clearance problems EXISTS! IMAGINE THAT!

    Being as truckers are SUPPOSED to be using THAT and not the standard road maps as a guide, you can bet that you can prove negligence.

  115. Beelzebub says:

    @Farquar: Your advice is sound. (Did you know Obama was a muslim?) But the state/federal issue is one of the biggest problems in the moving industry (well, for users of the industry). It’s almost impossible to seek relief against moving companies because there is little to no federal regulation on the industry, and states only regulate intrastate moves.

    If the truck had crossed into another state and THEN hit the bridge, sure, there’d be issues with that state for all of the driving infractions, but remedying the move would become much more complicated — who is there to hold them responsible in a regulatory manner? The BBB?

    That said, the fact that they hadn’t left the state may not matter… :( Either way, you’re pretty much screwed outside of a civil suit.

    What I want to know is…if this happens all the time, who the hell feels comfortable driving OVER that bridge??? Wouldn’t a constant barrage of trucks slamming into the bridge cause some structural damage???

  116. mizike says:

    Don’t really have anything to add other than to agree with what has been posted already: Get a lawyer immediately. This is clearly negligence, and as the driver was an employee acting in the normal course of employment, you can almost certainly get the moving company named in the suit as well as the driver (through vicarious liability). Even if you don’t want to go to court, going to a lawyer will make the other side more willing to negotiate, and you really don’t want to go into this kind of negotiation without legal counsel.

  117. Barbarisater says:

    @bobbleheadr: Seems to me that the contract initiated as soon as the movers touched the belongings to pack. You don’t pay until you receive your goods at the other end. So no contract would be in effect until they delivered the belongings?

  118. Consumerific says:

    I suggest you call a Boston attorney – in the past I have used Steve Brooks (617.951.2300). Ask him or another attorney if you can see them for a 20 minutes or explain the situation over the phone. Try to get specific guidance and find out if it is worth your while to hire him or another attorney. If you do get a chance to see an attorney try to be as exact and concise as possible when explaining the situation even if the attoreny sees you for free.

    Also go over this thread and write down a detailed outline of all the advice in this thread. Thre is a lot of good stuff here and having it in an outline form could help you formulate your strategy.

    Really sorry about your situation and wish you the best of luck. Being through a couple moves with minor damage I can’t imagine how badly you feel. Good luck.

  119. zolielo says:

    @bobbleheadr: I agree. I coordinate commercial movers often. For a valid contract to be had consideration must go through, basically. When the contract becomes binding, then insurance can come into play. Generally not reversing the credit charge is enough.

    I would suggest $1.50 per pound or actual replacement cost with a zero deductible. The $1.50 per pound is generally enough without being excessive. And the actual replacement cost with a zero deductible is comprehensive though excessive in price.

  120. mythago says:

    I’d say that you don’t even have to hire a lawyer. Save the money and sue them pro se.

    Bad idea. Aside from the technical aspects that you’ll have to spend time learning about (and hoping you don’t mess up), you may not HAVE to sue if you have a lawyer.

    Bottom line is that when you have a situation like this involving a corporation and/or an insurance company, they WILL NOT TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY until you have an attorney doing the talking for you. Period. Sometimes all your attorney needs to do is be there in order to get a decent settlement offer. But if you don’t have a lawyer, they’ll screw you six ways to Sunday.

  121. cabalist says:

    Get a lawyer.

    Pay the lawyer by the hour–perfectly reasonable.

    Sue the moving company for damages (replacement value for everything–THIS AIN”T NO HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE REPLACEMENT), court costs, and lawyer’s fees.

    Am I forgetting anything?

    This is another example of a slam dunk.

  122. guevera says:

    I’m sure 99% of the stuff you hear about moving companies being shady is true, but I moved twice with Wheaton van lines and both times they were great. Of course, my employer picked up the bill both times, but I had to do the shopping once, and Wheaton was also the cheapest.

    I hope not to make any interstate moves in the near future. If I do, I sure as hell won’t use Broadway Express!

  123. thalia says:

    Get yourself a good lawyer. The 60¢ per pound should not apply here, seeing as it was severe negligence on their part that led to the destruction of your property. There is no reason for them to charge you for a move that damaged all of your belongings and never got you to CA in the first place. This is a pretty clear case here, they need to reimburse you for not only all of your belongings, but also for your time and frustration.

    I would also file a chargeback ASAP. I think if you explain the situation, the decision of the credit card company should be obvious :/

  124. tqbf says:

    I know I’m repeating myself, but, oh well. “Lawyer up! Get an attorney ASAP! Wait, forget the lawyer, sue pro se!”

    What these commenters are not pointing out is that if try to fix this in court, you’re not going to see a cent for years. If you have renters or homeowners insurance, go to them first, not to a lawyer.

  125. seth1066 says:

    At trial: Plaintiff’s Exhibit 1- the picture of the back half of the truck body and strewn belongings with the bright yellow sign above: “CLEARANCE 11 FT 0 IN.”

  126. onesong says:

    get off the internet and get in front of a lawyer.

  127. And people mock me for living in North Dakota…

    I do hope you get something out of this, that’s gotta hurt bad

  128. Skankingmike says:

    @Veeber: Me personally I’d sell most of my furniture then rebuy (my friend went from Boston to Cali and basically just dumped all his non essentials). If you’re a family obviously this is a little different.

    Personally I’d drive the Uhaul myself, not sure how much a moving company costs to move your stuff I’d imagine a few thousand dollars, but paying that much doesn’t give you piece of mind, so why not spend that money on new furniture?

  129. BustedWheel says:

    I live in Boston, and as soon as I heard “turned onto Storrow Drive,” i knew it was over.
    Leases in Boston are supposed to run from 9/1 to 8/31. This means that everyone and his brother are tearing around the city in rented trucks moving themselves or their college kids that weekend. 2 Year ago I worked for Penske renting trucks, and on that particular weekend, we had 4 trucks stuck under bridges on that road. Two of them at the same time only one overpass from each other.

    The “professional” mover was obviously not from Boston, or was completely inept, or he would have known.

  130. Scoobatz says:

    FOR SALE: 2005 Sofa. Good condition. Low mileage. (Mostly highway miles.) $100/OBO

  131. Nev-in-NYC says:

    As has been said many times over, GET TO A LAWYER IMMEDIATELY! We’re talking about a clear case of negligence that likely could even go so far a gross negligence. Sue the company and the driver personally. This is unacceptable and there’s no way that a typical waiver for damages in transit would hold up in this situation. While you might be able to do this pro se, I’d still recommend getting a lawyer because there are nuances of evidence and court protocol that could interfere with you getting the maximum recovery due to you if you overlook something. That being said, go after them both and don’t settle for anything less than the full value of all of the possessions destroyed and the cost of replacing them (any tax or delivery fees related to the replacements).

  132. jimmydeweasel says:

    A direct product of the “No child left behind” mandate.Word problems were taken off the menu. How long does it take 14 foot tall truck to go through an 11 foot tunnel. No fair using your fingers.

  133. mthrndr says:

    That looked like a fucking nightmare. I feel really bad for these guys.

  134. mthrndr says:

    @jimmydeweasel: Oh yeah, this is all Bush’s fault. Like everything else in the country, apparently.

  135. Jay Levitt says:

    @econobiker: “It doesn’t have a traditional sleeper but is a four door ‘crew’ type cab”

    I think you need new eyes, son… it’s clearly configured as a convertible.

  136. Aisley says:

    Uhh, you still haven’t sued them? As a lawyer, I must tell you that you have what we call a “gorgeous” case. You are at a point where you can sue their posterior and win easily. Usually insurance contracts mention “acts of God”, and… this one isn’t. I refuse to believe that God created this truck driver that stupid!!! Any lawyer can start by getting his driving records and any complain or lawsuit against the company. That’s for starters, take it from there!

  137. mermaidshoes says:

    @hamsangwich: honking at someone in boston is like breathing. there’s no way it could ever warn anyone of anything.

  138. hexychick says:

    Considering there are signs warning about bridge clearances and the driver clearly didn’t hit the brakes, I don’t see how this isn’t negligence. You have to be going pretty damn fast to make it all the way through the bridge and then have stuff on either side of it as well as underneath. Talk to your homeowners insurance company, get a lawyer, chargeback on the credit card, and I’d even consider getting a local news channel involved.