I’m being blamed for property damage on a commercial building that I had nothing to do with. What can I do to defend myself?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Aug 21, 2010

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Insurance Question from North Hollywood, CA

Asked on 08/21/2010

I’m being blamed for property damage on a commercial building that I had nothing to do with. What can I do to defend myself? I was a witness to property damage on a building under construction. The only remaining wall sunk down, because of 2 commercial dumpsters filled with dirt. I reported it to the necessary people, they thanked me profusely. Now, 2 years later, I'm finding that they blamed me for the damage, and told that I'm responsible to reimburse the insurance company $66,000. I explained what happened, and that I had nothing to do with it, but no one seems to care. Does this have to go all the way to court for me to have any say? How difficult is it to defend a subrogation?

Answer given on August 21, 2010

You need to contact your insurance agent and file a claim under your liability policy.  Even though it has been 2 years, your were just notified of the claim, so you are under no penalty for not reporting the incident sooner.

Your insurance company will investigate the validity of the claim.  They will take your statement of the events as well as the statement from the other party and/or their insurance company.  if you have any evidence of your side of the story, or any witnesses, be sure to advise your adjuster so he/she can investigate that portion of the story.

If this goes to trial your insurance company will provide defense for you.  Hopefully this can be settled out of court, but if not, you will be represented. 

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