Is non-negligence sufficient reason to deny liability?

I live in CA and a few months ago, my condo suffered significant damage due to a slow leak coming from the unit directly above. The leak was within the above unit's wall. Due to the slow leak nature, my insurance company has denied my claim. The above unit's insurance provider is denying liability due to the lack of negligence from the owner above. The above owner is non-responsive. The HOA has refused to file a claim. Now, I'm stuck with having to pay to restore my condo to its previous condition. Although I have presented evidence that points to negligence, they were not considered by the other party's insurance adjuster. Is this determination by the above unit's insurance provide to deny liability due to non-negligence against the law? Does this happen alot? Should I sue? If so, who (above unit's owner or its insurance)? Should I get a lawyer? Total damages is above the small claims court limits.

Asked almost 9 years ago in California
Categories: Real Estate

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terrence m rubino

Answer by terrence m rubino

VerifiedIndiana lawyer

yes, you should get a california lawyer, preferably in your county. consultations are usually free but the lawyer will probably charge you an hourly rate for the work. he/she will review your homeowner's policy for coverage and may file a suit against the above owner, the association, possibly the contractor/builder. is it common for insurance companies to deny claims and pass the buck? not always but unfortunately too common. good luck!

Posted almost 9 years ago

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice to you. Legal advice pertaining to your particular situation can only be provided by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all pertinent background information necessary to give you a formal legal opinion. For formal legal advice, hire a lawyer (many give a free first consultation). Contact terrence m rubino, or search the Lawyer Directory.


Thank you, Atty. Rubino. I was advised by a lawyer to take the upstairs owner to Small Claims. Even if I prevailed, I would still be down about $3k. The lawyer advised it would be hard to find a lawyer who would take this case because, most likely, lawyer fees wouldn't be recoverable. I could probably spend more than the judgement and come out with more losses even if I prevailed. I'm thinking of representing myself if I couldn't find a viable lawyer. This would mean tons of work which I don't have time for; and I could probably jeopardize my case. This insurance (so tempted to name the company!!!) is posting huge profits while denying legitimate claims! I found that they even took advantage of disaster victims, the recent tornado and CA fires in particular. Unbelievable!

Posted almost 9 years ago

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