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  1. #1
    mkboldin is offline Junior Member
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    Insurance Claim Denied - Neighbors Decline To Pay

    What is the name of your state? CA

    On 12/04/04 major water damaged was discovered in our garage. After contacting our Homeowners Assn., a plumber was sent to determine where the water leak was coming from. It was found the water was coming from the condo unit above our garage. The condo owners insurance was contacted, and claims from us and themselves were filed regarding property damage. Both claims by their insurance were denied. Homeowners Assn. also declined paying for any damages as water leak came directly from their unit.

    Because the damage occured from their unit, are they not the ones liable for all repair work and personal property damages? Everytime we try to bring up the matter of our personal property loss/damage, the neighbors won't discuss the matter. They have taken out loan to pay for mold remediation and repair work to their bathroom and our garage, but have said or done nothing about the loss of our property. Additionally, they continually do not keep us up-to-date about matters involving the repairs, or provide us with copies of estimates or repair work contracts, so we proper documentation.

    Question 1 - Are they solely liable to pay for all damages and repairs resulting from the water leak orginating from their condo unit?

    Question 2 - Because we do not own our condo, but in live a family memebrs unit, is our family member obligated under the law to file a claim against his homeowners insurance though none of the damage/loss was a result of liability on their part? We feel that the family member should not have to file a claim against their insurance, as they were in no way responsbile for any of the damage/loss that occured.

    Question 3 - If the owner of the condo unit refuses to pay for the property damages/loss, what type of attorney would I need to contact for legal assistance? Claim we filed with their insurance company was property damage/loss in an amount of $6,000.

    Question 4 - If we do have to take the matter to court to get resolved, would the owners of the unit where the damage orginated be the only persons named on the suit, or should it also include their insurance company?
  2. #2
    seniorjudge Guest
    Question 1 - Are they solely liable to pay for all damages and repairs resulting from the water leak orginating from their condo unit?

    A: Was the water coming solely from their condo?


    Question 2 - Because we do not own our condo, but in live a family memebrs unit, is our family member obligated under the law to file a claim against his homeowners insurance though none of the damage/loss was a result of liability on their part?

    A: No one is obligated to file an insurance claim if you do not want your insurance to pay.


    Question 3 - If the owner of the condo unit refuses to pay for the property damages/loss, what type of attorney would I need to contact for legal assistance? Claim we filed with their insurance company was property damage/loss in an amount of $6,000.

    A: Get a good insurance attorney; however, check with your small claims court to see what the limit is; you may be able to do this in small claims.


    Question 4 - If we do have to take the matter to court to get resolved, would the owners of the unit where the damage orginated be the only persons named on the suit, or should it also include their insurance company?

    A: You can't sue their insurance carrier; you have no contract with them and they didn't cause the damage.
  3. #3
    mkboldin is offline Junior Member
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    Mrs

    Quote Originally Posted by seniorjudge
    Question 1 - Are they solely liable to pay for all damages and repairs resulting from the water leak orginating from their condo unit?

    A: Was the water coming solely from their condo


    Question 2 - Because we do not own our condo, but in live a family memebrs unit, is our family member obligated under the law to file a claim against his homeowners insurance though none of the damage/loss was a result of liability on their part?

    A: No one is obligated to file an insurance claim if you do not want your insurance to pay.


    Question 3 - If the owner of the condo unit refuses to pay for the property damages/loss, what type of attorney would I need to contact for legal assistance? Claim we filed with their insurance company was property damage/loss in an amount of $6,000.

    A: Get a good insurance attorney; however, check with your small claims court to see what the limit is; you may be able to do this in small claims.


    Question 4 - If we do have to take the matter to court to get resolved, would the owners of the unit where the damage orginated be the only persons named on the suit, or should it also include their insurance company?

    A: You can't sue their insurance carrier; you have no contract with them and they didn't cause the damage.

    Yes, it was determined by the Homeowners Assn. plumber and their own plumber, that the water leak was coming solely from a valve that had been leaking from their shower and had been spraying water against the wall and running into our garage unit. Water was leaking for an undetermined amount of time, and was not noticed by them, due to water spraying from their shower valve, inside and between the walls, nor by us, because the water was leaking into and down a wall and into cabinetary that was floor to ceiling and was rarely accessed. It seems by the amount of damage and extent of loss that it had being going on for awhile.

    Thanks for advice. I greatly appreciate it.
  4. #4
    seniorjudge Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by mkboldin
    Yes, it was determined by the Homeowners Assn. plumber and their own plumber, that the water leak was coming solely from a valve that had been leaking from their shower and had been spraying water against the wall and running into our garage unit. Water was leaking for an undetermined amount of time, and was not noticed by them, due to water spraying from their shower valve, inside and between the walls, nor by us, because the water was leaking into and down a wall and into cabinetary that was floor to ceiling and was rarely accessed. It seems by the amount of damage and extent of loss that it had being going on for awhile.

    Thanks for advice. I greatly appreciate it.
    You are welcome.
  5. #5
    claimlaw is offline Member
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    The same rules apply in HO policies. If your neighbor's tree falls on your house, your insurer pays - not theirs. Unless your neighbor had constructive notice that the tree was rotten and likely to fall, or was neglegent in cutting it down or maintaining it - your insurer pays.

    That said; in most cases, your insurer will pay for your damages and then subrogate against the other party and/or their insurer. No it doesn't seem fair to the innocent party but that's the way it works.

    In the absence of insurance on your part, you could sue, perhaps in small claims as suggested above, however, unless you can show that the proximate cause of the "accident" was the condo owner's negligence - he will prevail.

    If you sue, you will name the condo owner above you. Suing in general in 1st party property claims is a loser unless bad faith is involved - and then it's still an overall loser. Your lawyer will be the only one that makes any money since they will never take it on contingency. Even the experience insurance practicioner will learn on your dime.

    claimlaw
  6. #6
    mkboldin is offline Junior Member
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    Mrs

    Quote Originally Posted by claimlaw
    The same rules apply in HO policies. If your neighbor's tree falls on your house, your insurer pays - not theirs. Unless your neighbor had constructive notice that the tree was rotten and likely to fall, or was neglegent in cutting it down or maintaining it - your insurer pays.

    That said; in most cases, your insurer will pay for your damages and then subrogate against the other party and/or their insurer. No it doesn't seem fair to the innocent party but that's the way it works.

    In the absence of insurance on your part, you could sue, perhaps in small claims as suggested above, however, unless you can show that the proximate cause of the "accident" was the condo owner's negligence - he will prevail.

    If you sue, you will name the condo owner above you. Suing in general in 1st party property claims is a loser unless bad faith is involved - and then it's still an overall loser. Your lawyer will be the only one that makes any money since they will never take it on contingency. Even the experience insurance practicioner will learn on your dime.

    claimlaw
    So what I'm getting out of this, is that you are saying that the relative of whos condo we are living in would have to file a property damage claim on his homewoners insurance in order for us to get any compensation for our lost property? I was trying to avoid this, as in CA, insurers seem to raise insurance rates, and/or cancel policies over the most minor claims, and I want to avoid running this risk at all possible cost.

    Though the neighbor whose shower leaked into our garage was most probably unaware of what has happening, in my opinion, has admitted liability and responsability regarding the incident, by taking out a loan and paying for the mold remediation and repair work to our garage, his bathroom, and part of another tenants unit. Wouldn't his actions negate any negliance factors if taken to court?
  7. #7
    seniorjudge Guest
    Though the neighbor whose shower leaked into our garage was most probably unaware of what has happening, in my opinion, has admitted liability and responsability regarding the incident, by taking out a loan and paying for the mold remediation and repair work to our garage, his bathroom, and part of another tenants unit. Wouldn't his actions negate any negliance factors if taken to court?

    As a matter of public policy (among other things) courts do not allow acts of remediation after incidents such as this in to evidence (for obvious reasons).
  8. #8
    mkboldin is offline Junior Member
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    Mrs

    Quote Originally Posted by seniorjudge
    Though the neighbor whose shower leaked into our garage was most probably unaware of what has happening, in my opinion, has admitted liability and responsability regarding the incident, by taking out a loan and paying for the mold remediation and repair work to our garage, his bathroom, and part of another tenants unit. Wouldn't his actions negate any negliance factors if taken to court?

    As a matter of public policy (among other things) courts do not allow acts of remediation after incidents such as this in to evidence (for obvious reasons).
    Now I'm more confuse. As of yesterday, I was under the impression that I wouldn't have to involve the actual owner of the property by having him file a homeowners insurance claim, but, that the matter could be settled by me through a court action, if needed.

    Now, I'm getting that that is not the case, and I will have to have my relative file a claim, and then his insurance company would go after the neighbors or their insurance for compensation.
  9. #9
    seniorjudge Guest
    Q: Now I'm more confuse. As of yesterday, I was under the impression that I wouldn't have to involve the actual owner of the property by having him file a homeowners insurance claim, but, that the matter could be settled by me through a court action, if needed.

    A: You are the renter; you have no right to sue someone for damage to the real estate.


    Q: Now, I'm getting that that is not the case, and I will have to have my relative file a claim, and then his insurance company would go after the neighbors or their insurance for compensation.

    A: Yes.


    Who is the person who has the insurance policy?

    The owner, correct?

    Then that person needs to file a claim with his insurance carrier.

    I am assuming you do not have renters insurance.
  10. #10
    mkboldin is offline Junior Member
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    No, no renters insurance. We weren't trying to compensated for anything but our personal property that was damaged and/or destroyed as a result of the water damage.

    Like I said, the neighbors whose shower leaked into our garage is paying out-of-pocket for all repair work, because his homeowners insurance denied his claim, but doesn't want to pay for the loss of personal property.
  11. #11
    seniorjudge Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by mkboldin
    No, no renters insurance. We weren't trying to compensated for anything but our personal property that was damaged and/or destroyed as a result of the water damage.

    Like I said, the neighbors whose shower leaked into our garage is paying out-of-pocket for all repair work, because his homeowners insurance denied his claim, but doesn't want to pay for the loss of personal property.
    Sue him in small claims court for the loss of your personal stuff.
  12. #12
    testedmonkey is offline Member
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    Next time

    When this whole thing is finished, make sure you purchase a renter's policy. They're actually pretty inexpensive and you might be able to package your auto coverage in with it for a discount. If you'd done that to begin with, this whole thing would've been settled by now. The insurance carrier would've paid your expenses, then gone after the guy above you on their own.

    Also, you might want to tell your relatives to verify that they have the proper coverage on that condo unit. If they don't live there at all, and their policy isn't specifically endorsed to show that they have "renters" in the unit, their homeowner/condo owner coverage may be useless anyway.

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