Is this really a new claim

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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: Jun 25, 2010

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Insurance Question from Portland, OR

Asked on 06/25/2010

Is this really a new claim We had water damage due to damaged pex that was used in our shower. Initially the plumber who patched said that a sawzall caused the damage. The water damage was remediated, plaster patched and then a second failure ocurred ~3" from where the original damage occurred. The damage appears to be identical, but plumber #2 identified it as rodent gnaw marks. State Farm has the original pipe and never shared their analysis results. Shouldn't they have told us the damage was rodent so we could have taken necessary steps? Is plumber #1 responsible? Is it reasonable to call it a "new" claim?

Answer given on July 04, 2010

the water damage you suffered in your shower was apparently caused by the pipe damage that the plumber found.  It seems unusual that the first plumber wouldn’t have seen the leak 3″ away if it was there at the time of the first loss, but not impossible.  Even though State Farm had the damaged pipe, it is unlikely they analyzed the damaged pipe.  Instead they would have deferred to the plumber used as to the cause of the damage.   It seems logical that damage by a sawzall might mimic rodent gnaw marks, or vice versa.  

Your question does not say whether the insurance company is considering this a new, separate claim or not.  If so, there doesn’t seem to be any responsiblity from plumber #1 for negligence.  You should discuss the situation with the claims adjuster to see if there is anyway to tie this 2nd damage to the original claim, thus eliminating the second deductible and a second claim on your record.  Another option would be to speak with the first plumber to try to work out a compromise with him. 

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