Who is responsible for property damage to my car?

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Who is responsible for property damage to my car?

The landlord’s tenant next door had a picnic umbrella
fly off of their property and onto my car on to the
property where I rent and damaged it. Who is liable
to repair my vehicle? The landlord next door or their
tenant or both? Both landlord and tenant are
refusing to cover the 500 out of pocket deductible
through my insurance.

Asked on July 30, 2016 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The landlord is *definitely* not liable: a landlord is not responsible for the actions of or damages done by his/her tenants, so if it was the tenant's umbrella, the landlord bears no liability.
The tenant would be liable only if at fault, which typically means that they were unreasonably careless, like leaving the umbrella set up when a storm was predicted to be coming. But if they were not unreasonably careless--if they had an umbrella up on a day that a reasonable person would have one up, and a gust of wind just happened to catch it and throw it into your car, they are not liability--liability depends on being at fault.
Note that even if you believe they were at fault, if they will not voluntarily pay, you'd have to sue them and convince a court they were at fault to get the money.


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