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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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My rental home was burned down by neighbor's mistake. He was

Customer Question

My rental home was burned down by neighbor's mistake. He was smoking on his deck, threw cigarette butt which started fire. It slowed spread to his and my homes and both were nearly burned down.
It was proven by Fire Chief investigation and he has accepted his fault that he thew cigarette butt that started fire.
My insurance company paid a part of my claim to rebuild home. They may go after neighbor's company to recover their payment.
I am planning to file a law-suit against neighbor for remaining losses, my attorney fee (to handle first claim), time spent on case, loss of rent (while being built) and emotional distress.
Is it a valid claim? Am I ok to file law-suit for these expenses? If I hire an attorney to handle law-suit, can I claim that amount too?
What happens if neighbor's liability insurance limit does not cover all claims as other home owners might have also filed claims against this neighbor due to this fire.
What is the order of payment for all such claims? Will neighbor be personally liable for amount not paid by his insurance company due to liability limit?
Is there an attorney in Colorado who is ready to work on contingency basis?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.

Dear Customer,

I am sorry to learn of this situation.

Yes, you can file a claim for your economic damages. (Damage to property, loss of income).

Economic distress is not compensable in this kind of case (those damages are reserved for personal injury and wrongful death claims).

You cannot recover your attorney's fees in this kind of case (the "American Rule" applies and both parties will bear their own attorney's fees).

You will want to work with your insurance company on this matter as you do not want to interfere with their right of subrogation, and you do not want your claim to be claimed by your insurance carrier as compensation for the money they paid out as part of your insurance money.

If your neighbor's liability insurance does not cover the damage claim, you can get a personal judgment against him. You can enforce this via wage garnishment, bank levies, and liens on his personal and real properties.

You can find local attorneys using the State and local Bar Association directories, or private directories such as;; or (I personally find to be the most user friendly).