Who is responsibleto pay for damage to my house if it burnedbecause myneighbor’s house caught fire?

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Who is responsibleto pay for damage to my house if it burnedbecause myneighbor’s house caught fire?

I bought this small old house for cash a couple weeks ago. I was in in the process of obtaining insurance on it. However before I got it, my neighbor’s house burned and my house caught fire as well. Who is responsible for paying my damages if my neighbor’s insurance is only covering their house?

Asked on March 30, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It may be the case, unfortunately, that there  is no one you can look to for compensation. Your neighbor *might* be responsible IF he or she was negligent--or unreasonably careless--in some way (e.g. feel asleep while smoking; used a propane heater in an unsafe way; had several or many candles burning with a window open, so a breeze knocked them over), or if the neighbor intentionally caused the fire (i.e. arson).  But there must be fault, either due to negligence or intentional bad act. If there is no fault--for example, the fire was the result of a electrical short, when you neighbor didn't misuse anything; or from lightning; or from some third-party unrelated arsonist--then there is no liability; liability only attaches when someone is at fault.


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