Should I be held liable and have to file a claim through my insurance company for a tenants leak in the apartment unit above me?

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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: Nov 3, 2011

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Insurance Question from Marietta, GA

Asked on 11/03/2011

Should I be held liable and have to file a claim through my insurance company for a tenants leak in the apartment unit above me? A tenant in the unit above me had a leaking pipe that he claimed to have "fixed" and the did not inform the apartments maintenance of the issue. As a result the leak caused damage to my apartment and a few of my belongings. Management has told me that I need to go through my renters insurance and not the tenant who caused the damage or through the property's insurance to get my things covered. My insurance will go up when I refile and also I do not see how I should be held responsible for someone else negligence. Also the tenant has renters insurance.

Answer given on November 07, 2011

Water damage caused by an upstairs neighbor can be a complicated claim for all parties. There has to be negligence by the neighbor to make them liable for the damages to your personal property. If your neighbor thought the pipe was fixed, then there probably not be any negligence. Failure to advise the building owner would not be an issue.You should file a claim with your insurance company. The adjuster will determine if the upstairs neighbor was negligent. If not, your policy will pay for your damages, less your deductible. If there is negligence, then the adjuster will go to your neighbor’s insurance company for reimbursement. If they are successful, then your deductible will be refunded to you.The management company has no responsibility, presuming the pipe was the responsibility of the unitowner. If it is a pipe that the building owner is responsible to maintain, then your adjuster may seek reimbursement from the building owner’s insurance.

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