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Florida Condominium Damage Responsibility

On Lawyer & Legal » Insurance Law

3,873 words with 1 Comments; publish: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 14:39:00 GMT; (80062.01, « »)

On June10,2000, a water leak started in my toilet and damaged my carpeting and the carpeting of my next door neighbor. Neither of us was in Fl at that time. Our onsite building engineer caught the leak right away and stopped it and had carpet cleaners come in to dry the carpet in both units and after notifying both owners, we instructed the carpet people to also clean the wet carpets as they suggested. I flew down for my normal visit and the neighbors also flew in just to see the extent of their damage. I did not have HO insurance but they did. They told me that their carpet bill was for $495 and did not meet their deductable so they thought that I should pay them. They also eluded to the fact that they incurred airline expenses and car rential expenses. I told them that I would ask our Condo Association for the policy on this issue. I then informed them that I had been told that each unit owner was responsible for their own damage and had always been treated that way in the past. They then said that they would sue me for the carpet cleaning and travel expenses. After 6 months went by, I assumed that they learned the same law that I had been told. But I gave them $100 in a holidy greeting card and told them to have a dinner on me. They inturn thanked me and gave me a card. 3 days ago I received a letter from Liberty Mutual Group stating that they have paid $5,554.24 in damages under their Homeowner coverage, "Right of Subrogation: involves our right to recover from a negligent party the money we have paid on our Insured's behalf for property damage and related expenses." "Notice of Liability, since our investigation shows that this lossoccurred due to negligence on your part, we shall expect you to reimburse us the amount shown aboe." "If you were not insured, we will be happy to work with you in establishing a comvenient payment plan. Please contact me right away. Please be advised that the Condo engineer told me that these people had had numerous water problems over the years, but none ever exceeded their insurance decuctable and they the engineer and his workers were inside their unit and saw no other damage but the wet carpet. Therefore I believe they must have showed their insurance adjuster all of the previous water problems and accused me. This is a fraudulent claim of $5554.24. They personally told me they wanted payment for $495. plus travel expenses. They were also informed by the Condo engineer that they did not need to come down to inspect their unit that he took care of everything. Please advise. Thank you very much.

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    • First, did you report the damage to YOUR homeowners insurance company at the time? If so, send it the demand letter and it will handle this with no problem; feel free to say it you suspect fraud. Also inform the condo association of the claim.

      Second, did you have homeowners insurance but NOT report it then? If so report this to the insurer now and be prepared to justify why you did not report it earlier, plus your suspicions. Ditto the condo association.

      Third, if you had no insurance, you now know the value of insurance. You seem to have at least a partially fraudulent claim and have to deal with it as their insurer presumably has paid, or is planning to pay, for their damages and has the right to go after the wrongdoers, if any.

      While the letter is merely a threat, and they'd have to sue you and prove the damages plus your negligence, both of which are not easy (or really worthwhile for them), you'd have to defend if sued, and more appropriately,to try to avoid being sure by convincing their carrier that has paid out the money not to sue, or settle it . That is, as they say in Florida "aggravating". If you don't have insurance, get a lawyer (probably down there) to write a letter for you denying responsibility.

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      #1; Wed, 21 Feb 2001 10:05:00 GMT