Who is liable for damages that result when a repairman sets off an electrical fire in a private home?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Who is liable for damages that result when a repairman sets off an electrical fire in a private home?

An air conditioning repairman determined that our A/C problem was caused by a faulty breaker box. His efforts to repair it resulted in an explosion and electrical fire that has left us without power and could cost several thousand dollars. He contends that he is not responsible for the repairs as he feels that “the breaker box was defective” and “would have eventually arced and caught fire anyway.” In fact, he has countered by claiming that we are liable for burns to his hands. We suspect that he doesn’t want it known that he was trying to do electrical work outside of his training.

Asked on March 9, 2012 under Business Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The issue is fault: if the repairman was careless or negligent--which includes having taken on repairs or work for which he was not trained--and caused the fire due to his negligence, then he should be responsible for the damage to your home and would have to bear the cost of his own injuries. On the other hand, if he knew what he was doing (e.g. had proper training) and the problem was a faulty or defective box, he could likely hold the homeowners responsible and they'd also have to bear their own costs--though depending on the facts, they may in turn have a cause of action against whomever installed, etc. the box (if it wasn't too long ago--there is a time limit, called the statute of limitiations, for how long you have to sue). So the issue of liability will depend on causality and fault.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption