Should I allow a claim on my homeowners for a fire at the neighbors house across the street?

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Should I allow a claim on my homeowners for a fire at the neighbors house across the street?

I cleaned up the yard by burning leaves. The fire was out and at least 5 feet from any other leaves, etc.  About an hour later, a fire erupted across the street burning the fence and storage building in the back. The wind did pick up that afternoon. One person from the house stated she went outside to smoke and nothing was burning and then 15 minutes later the fire was going. I received no citations or anything. It could have been from my ashes that got blown but it could have come from a cigarette. The adjuster said it was my fault but I disagree; there is no way to tell. We both have the same insurance company.

Asked on October 27, 2010 under Insurance Law, Arkansas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Which adjuster?  the adjuster form your both insurance companies?  I would get an independent determination here.  No, I would not just give up and assume liability.  You will open yourself up to a whole host of problems. How can the prove that it was from a leaf from your yard?  It sounds as if you were very cautious and put the fire out (although I may suggest that you not clean the yard that way again).  I would get some advice from an attorney in your area too. Maybe classifying the fire as "undetermined" would be best for everyone involved. Get all the information that you can before you decide and get advice as well.  Good luck.


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