Last week I had to go to Portland, Oregon for some meetings. I strategically planned the trip. My plan was this:
- Leave Chicago early Friday morning;
- Attend the meeting all day Saturday;
- Fly out of Portland on Saturday evening and take the red-eye to Orlando;
- Arrive at my commitment at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday morning.
The plan was on paper and I thought it was pretty strategic. Things go as planned until Saturday night. I'm at the Portland airport waiting for my flight on Frontier Airlines from Portland to Denver. I look out the window and see the pilot inspecting the engine and shaking his head. From his body language, I could tell this was not going to be good.
When push comes to shove, the story is that the flight isn't going out because when the plane was landing in Portland a flock of birds were sucked into the engine. I do not know if this was true –but this was the story.
The gate agent tells me that because all flights are sold out, I'm looking at a 5-day stay in Portland, which certainly didn't work for me.
I travel pretty often and I've had to pivot a number of times, so I jump on my computer and start looking for flights. There are no flights to Orlando. I see that the next morning there is a flight from Portland on Southwest Airlines back to Chicago. I figure it's much easier for me to get to Orlando from Chicago then Portland. I book the flight, and find a flight on Monday from South Bend to Orlando on Allegiant for another $300. I had to get another hotel room for Saturday night at $200, and there was an additional 100 bucks in ground transportation charges. In the end, my trip cost me an additional $450-$500 plus I missed my Sunday commitment.
The question is can I be reimbursed for my loss?
The answer is no. The relationship between Frontier is based on contract. The language in the travel documents gives Frontier an out for “environmental” issues or problems outside of its control. So, the additional monies paid are coming out of my pocket and that is just the way it is.
We see this in many other scenarios
The most frequent situation that I see in which my clients lose money is on property damage claims after a car accident. The two frequent scenarios are these:
A client has an older vehicle that they use for work, which is high mileage and runs great. The vehicle is worth much more to them working then it can be sold for or replaced. The vehicle is totaled in an accident, and the other insurance company pays them a fraction of what the vehicle is worth, and they are not able to replaced the vehicle.
The next scenario is a client who has a newer vehicle that they either put a large down payment on or they financed the whole amount. Vehicles depreciate pretty quickly. I'm sure you've heard that a vehicle drops $500-$1,000 the moment it drives off of the lot. Again, the client is involved in a crash and the insurance company offers them $3,500 less than what they owe on the vehicle.
In both situations, I'm always asked is the insurance company right? Is there anything that I can do? Most of the time the insurance company is correct, there may be a dispute over a few hundred bucks. Why is this? Because the law says that the proper amount a person owes who destroys personal property is the “fair market or actual cash value” of the property. Click here if you would like to learn more about property damage claims.
Lawyers have to work in the framework of the law and many times the law is unfair in real life situations. This is difficult to understand when bad things happen but it is the way the cookie crumbles.
If you have any questions about an Indiana car wreck, give me a call (219) 874-4878.
Photo attribution: Denver Post
Pejic & DiMartino, PC 1000 Washington Street Michigan City, Indiana 46360
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