Who’s responsibility is it to pay for damage caused by a falling shingle?

Our 4-5year old roof is in good condition but due to bad weather a few weeks back, the shingle came out and it fell on our neighbor’s car leaving a dent. Our homeowner’s insurance company has refused to pay and now the neighbor has sent us a notice asking for their $1000 deductible. Are we liable to pay?

Asked on May 16, 2016 under Insurance Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are not automatically liable for the damage: it depends on whether you were at fault which, in a case like this, generally comes down to maintenance. If the roof was in good shape, and you can show that it was (e.g. by photographs; by your own testimony) that it was, and the shingle only fell due to the bad weather with no reason to have previously thought there was a risk of this, then you should not be liable. Conversely, if the neighbors could somehow show that the roof was in bad shape--e.g. if they have other shingles which have come off your roof and landed on their property, which tends to show poor repair or condition--they could win their case.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.