Can you have liability without negligence regarding a fire on your neighbor’s property?

If someone is claiming “liability” with respect to my electric meter caused a fire that burned my neighbor’s deck (since both electric meters are located on their side of our duplex). Does that potential for liability by definition suggest negligence. Clearly the wires were not adjusted or maintained or altered by me – it seems just a random act of wires that have dried/cracked. No one in our community has updated their wiring – it is not like a chose to not update wiring.

Asked on October 27, 2014 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

As a property owner, you are liable for the fire damage to your neighbor's property whether or not you were negligent.

Negligence is the failure to exercise due care ( that degree of care that a reasonable property owner would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm); such as inspecting and maintaining the wiring.

Another type of liability where negligence does not need to be established is strict liability.  Strict liability imposes liability whether or not due care was exercised.

It would be advisable to refer the matter to your homeowner's insurance carrier, which will handle the case for you and provide you with an attorney at no cost to you.


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