If aneighbor’s trampoline was thrown into our house and carport during a storm and insurance says it is “Act of God”, what can I do?

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If aneighbor’s trampoline was thrown into our house and carport during a storm and insurance says it is “Act of God”, what can I do?

A neighbor did not secure their large trampoline after multiple warnings of a severe thunderstorm. The wind picked it up and threw it into our house, fence, and carport. The collision broke a fence, 2 windows, the roof, damaged our carport. However their insurer is saying their negligence was an “act of God”. Our insurance will fix everything but we have to pay a deductible and our rates will go up. What can I do legally? Can I sue to get them to pay for the damages instead?

Asked on April 5, 2011 under Insurance Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether they *were* negligent in not securing their trampoline. Negligence is based on the hypothetical average "reasonable person." If the average reasonable man or women would have staked down, chained up, put away, etc. the trampoline in that instance, the neighbors may be liable and you might be able to sue them. But if the average reasonable person would not have done those things, then they would not be liable--it doesn't matter if in hindsight they should have done so, or if a very cautious or wise person would have (it's just the average reasonable man or women that's used as a yardstick). You can sue a persono even if their insurer refuses to pay, so if you think you might have a case, you should consult with an attorney who can listen to all the facts, provide a detailed evaluation, and, if you go forward, represent you. Good luck.


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