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    Ophe1112's Avatar
    Ophe1112 Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Jan 24, 2011, 10:23 AM
    Accidental Fire Liability - CT
    I am a renter in CT. My apartment was in an accidental fire(stove was accidentally turned on without my notice, the indication light on stove might have failed to turn on and eventually the stove caught fire). Fire Marshall said the electric stove has a burner and that caught fire and it was purely accidental. Now my landlord is trying to get withhold my security deposite and go after me for all damages of the fire. The landlord for the building should have insurance but seem to go after me for the full amount(including fees that I did not agree upon, i.e. removal cost). What should I do?
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
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    #2

    Jan 24, 2011, 10:41 AM

    They likely have a high deductible before the insurance kicks in... and they can go after that part.

    If you have renters insurance (your responsibility) they might cover that deductible... but in any case... you may want to set up a consultation with a lawyer in your area.
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #3

    Jan 24, 2011, 10:56 AM

    When insurance companies start talking liability there is no such thing as an accident in their book. Chances are both insurance companies will say this is not an accident but simply neglect or forgetfulness on your part. From what you tell us nothing broke to cause the stove to turn on. Something/someone turned it on. And forgot about it because maybe the pilot light did not show. Can you give a more detailed explanation about "stove was accidentally turned on without my notice"
    Ophe1112's Avatar
    Ophe1112 Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #4

    Jan 24, 2011, 12:18 PM
    Thank you for your responses. I was cleaning and moving things around my studio. I can't figure out how, but the knob for one of stovetop was turned. Didn't know anything until I heard the fire alarm went off. Next thing I know I saw fire on the stove, it then caught something nearby and spread a little. The fire was really small, and most of the damage was due to the firemen. They spray the whole place down and I can't salvage much of anything. The letter from the landlord was vague, saying they reserve the right to go after me for the cost of the damages, but nothing set in stone that I am liable. I am wondering if I am in any danger of lawsuit and if I really need a lawyer, or I can just brush them off.
    Ophe1112's Avatar
    Ophe1112 Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Jan 24, 2011, 12:21 PM
    Comment on ballengerb1's post
    Please refer to my newest answer, I can't elaborate on the comment section. Thank you.
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #6

    Jan 24, 2011, 12:25 PM

    Do you have renters insurance? I think you will be held liable so your landlord will rightfully try to recover what he can to keep his insurance rates down.
    excon's Avatar
    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
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    #7

    Jan 24, 2011, 12:38 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophe1112 View Post
    I am wondering if I am in any danger of lawsuit and if I really need a lawyer, or I can just brush them off.
    Hello O:

    Sure you're in danger of being sued. You damaged somebody's property and he wants you to pay for what you did. Sounds reasonable to me, and it'll sound reasonable to a court too. You certainly can't brush him off.

    You say he wants you to pay for ALL the damages, but you should be liable for only his deductible. If you wait until your sued, it'll cost you a lot more than that, so I'd suggest negotiating a settlement with him right now.

    excon
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
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    #8

    Jan 24, 2011, 12:40 PM

    As was mentioned several times... get a lawyer... or expect to get fleeced. Its really not a do-it-yourself project. And an example of why its good to carry your own renters insurance. If you had your out of pocket might be next to nothing and your property would have been covered as well.
    Ophe1112's Avatar
    Ophe1112 Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #9

    Jan 24, 2011, 01:46 PM
    Comment on smoothy's post
    Rented this place right out of college, never heard of renters insurance. Huge lesson learned.
    Ophe1112's Avatar
    Ophe1112 Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    Jan 24, 2011, 01:49 PM
    Comment on ballengerb1's post
    Rented this place right out of college, never heard of renters insurance. The bill he sent me was extremely exaggerated($50/hour for labor?; Removal that he offered and that I never asked for). My 500sq feet studio does not have 10K of damage.
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    Ophe1112 Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #11

    Jan 24, 2011, 01:50 PM
    Comment on excon's post
    I asked around and most people who have rented believe the landlord is bluffing. But I will get some legal advice. Thank you.
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
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    #12

    Jan 24, 2011, 01:51 PM

    I threw the Renters insurance advice in for the benefit of everyone reading this thread that might be renters... the coverage is really cheap... and as you have found out... would have covered much of your losses.

    And the longer you rent.. the more stuff you will acquire. Making it even more important.

    And I once dodged a major loss myself when the apartment caught fire next to mine while I was in the middle of moving out. Luckily what was still inside was clothing that was inside suitcases... and simple laundering revoved the smoke odor. But my unit was heavily smoke damaged, the fire almost but didn't break through the drywall into my unit... but did damage the studs in the wall and over my unit... the drywall nails actually burned the paint above them. The unit next to mine was gutted and the entire building needed redone as a result of damages between water , smoke and fire.

    I didn't have the insurance then either... but I did the next place I lived.
    LILL's Avatar
    LILL Posts: 212, Reputation: 15
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    #13

    Jan 24, 2011, 03:26 PM
    Sure, it was "accidental" because nobody intended to set the house on fire, but you are definitely responsible for the fire. Yes the landlords insurance will cover the LL 's dwelling, but the insurance company will come after the responsible party (YOU) to recoup their losses. So basically you can be sue by bothe the landlord (deductible) and the insurance company (losses).

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