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Old 14.06.2007, 21:20
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Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

After saving for ages I took delivery of my new car about a month ago. Tonight a neighbour alerted me to the fact that barriers erected outside the block of flats, after drainage repairs, where I live, had blown over in the storm and scratched my car.

The barriers have been there for a week or two even though (as far as I am aware) the hole has been filled in for a couple of days..

I took photos and rang the number on one of the barriers and to my surprise, the owner of the firm came around immediately.

He said that it was an "act of God", the same as if a tree had fallen or if lightning had struch and that he wasn't responsible.

I tried to tell him that I didn't think that the barriers had been erected properly and that it was therefore human error.

He told me also that maybe I should subscribe to "www.wetteralarm.ch" which sends and SMS to your phone when bad weather is predicted and then I would know to take precautions!!

Can someone here pleae let me know how I stand in this? I'm going to call my insurance anyway tomorrow. In the meantime Here (attached) are a couple of the pics I made.
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who-responsible-damage-during-storm-cimg1022.jpg   who-responsible-damage-during-storm-cimg1023.jpg   who-responsible-damage-during-storm-cimg1024.jpg   who-responsible-damage-during-storm-cimg1027.jpg   who-responsible-damage-during-storm-cimg1030.jpg  

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Old 14.06.2007, 21:22
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

I would have thought the firms public liability insurance policy would have covered such damage, but that's not a field I'm expert in, and the ones I work with who might be have all gone home!

Your insurance should pay you and then recover the money off them.
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Old 14.06.2007, 22:04
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

Thanks Tim. I just had another thought. The owner of the firm showed me his mobile with the SMS he received from wetteralarm.ch warning that stormy weather was imminent and that windows should be closed etc. Surely he should have thought about any barricades his firm had erected?
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Old 14.06.2007, 22:12
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

So if a big whopping crane is erected in the middle of a housing estate and blows over in a storm killing ten people, the cranes insurance company says sorry act of god we pay nothing nor do we repair your houses nor do we ...

Sorry, but that won't wash. IF you put something somewhere and it is unsecured for the known weather conditions then you are liable. If on the other hand an earthquake which could not be predicted causes it then it is an act of God. However, you can still be covered for that...

And as a matter of fact I took an insurance company to task a couple of years ago when during a bad storm the unsecured flower pots on someones window blew down onto my car bonnet causing a few thousand damage. I was paid out... Ask him for his insurance company and call them. Alternatively and better write to them with the pictures (copies of course) stating clearly that the barriers were unsecured...
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Old 15.06.2007, 10:19
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

Claim away, that's what you pay the insurance company for. Forget the SMS Wetteralarm, as it's completely irrelevant. In fact, don't waste your breath any more than necessary with the guy responsible for the barriers.
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Old 15.06.2007, 10:28
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

I work in insurance and what happened to your car is not an act of god!
The firm who erected the barriers would be 100% liable for this. Don't claim on your insurance and risk your no claims bonus.
Acts of God are generally not covered under insurance policies but this does not cover people who through negligent actions result in causing other dangers i.e. this firm not properly securing their barriers.
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Old 15.06.2007, 10:47
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

I notice that it was the owner of the firm that told you it was an 'Act of God' and not his insurance company. You should tell him to let his insurance company deal with this. This often happens when a company have had several claims against them and they are worried about their premium increasing and so they try to put you off making yet another claim.
You should report the matter to your own insurers and they will also be able to give you advice.
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Old 15.06.2007, 11:55
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

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You should report the matter to your own insurers and they will also be able to give you advice.
Indeed - asking your insurer for advice does not risk your no claims bonus. That would only kick in if you actually claim via your own insurer. If you can claim directly via the other insurance company, then if won't affect your NCB. Of course, this assumes you actually have a big NCB to care about
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Old 15.06.2007, 12:10
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

I looked up Wikipedia reference-linkAct of God....

Quote:
In the law of contracts, an "act of God" may be interpreted as an implied defense under the rule of impossibility, i.e., the promise is discharged because of unforeseen, naturally occurring events that were unavoidable and which would result in insurmountable delay, expense or other material breach. In other contracts, such as indemnification, an act of God may be no excuse, and in fact may be the central risk assumed by the promisor, e.g., flood insurance or crop insurance; the only variables being the timing and extent of the damage. In many cases, failure by way of ignoring obvious risks due to "natural phenomena" will not be sufficient to excuse performance of the obligation, even if the events are relatively rare, e.g., Y2K problems in computers. Under the Uniform Commercial Code, §2-615, failure to deliver goods sold may be excused by an "act of God" if the absence of such act was a "basic assumption" of the contract, but has made the delivery commercially "impracticable."
Even the guy himself admitted the event was forseeable..especially if you subscribe to "www.wetteralarm.ch"

But what really interested me about what wikipedia had to say was this...

Quote:
Act of God or act of nature is a legal term[1] for events outside of human control, such as sudden floods or other natural disasters, for which no one can be held responsible. This does not protect those who put others in danger of acts of God through negligence, such as a camp counselor who instructs a group of children on a hike to stand under a tree to escape a lightning storm.
I was wondering why a counselor's particular demeanour would have any bearing on the matter
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Old 15.06.2007, 12:46
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

I worked in the UK insurance industry for many years and never came across a single case where an insurer invoked ‘Act of God’ as a reason for not paying a claim. I have, however, heard the expression used many, many times and always by people who have absolutely no idea of what they are talking about !
If someone builds a barrier then it should be strong enough to withstand any storm that can reasonably be expect to occur.
If the builder is telling you that you should have protected your car from his barrier in the event of a storm then he is admitting that he knew it might collapse and, therefore, he should have done something about it.
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Old 15.06.2007, 16:00
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

That bloke who got his head smashed in by a Christmas tree in Prague a few years back was said to have suffered from an act of God by the courts there and his family recieved nothing from the city authorities, even though it was their fault for not securing the tree properly.
Different country, I know...
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Old 15.06.2007, 17:00
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

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That bloke who got his head smashed in by a Christmas tree in Prague a few years back was said to have suffered from an act of God by the courts there and his family recieved nothing from the city authorities, even though it was their fault for not securing the tree properly.
Different country, I know...
As you say, a different country and I would have no idea as to how they apply their law in Prague.
My experience is in the UK and I don't know how Swiss law may vary if, indeed, it does. However, in this case it's the builder who's invoking 'Act of God' but his insurance company may take a different view. As I say, I'm not up on Swiss law but I would think that it would have to be shown that the storm was so strong that it was well beyond anything that could reasonably be expected to occur.
Last year in Swiss Romande we had a very severe hail storm which damaged many thousands of cars and caused extensive damage to properties but I never heard of any insurance company claiming it was an Act of God.
In the UK the exclusion for Acts of God no longer exists in modern policies.
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Old 15.06.2007, 21:49
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

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I work in insurance and what happened to your car is not an act of god!
The firm who erected the barriers would be 100% liable for this. Don't claim on your insurance and risk your no claims bonus.
Acts of God are generally not covered under insurance policies but this does not cover people who through negligent actions result in causing other dangers i.e. this firm not properly securing their barriers.

Temporary work barriers like that are normally weighed down with concrete slabs or sand bags. From the photos it doesn't look like any precaution was taken to stop them from blowing over...
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Old 19.06.2007, 11:35
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

How did this end up? Any news?
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Old 19.06.2007, 13:57
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

I first asked a Swiss friend of mine to call the company involved and just make sure that I understood the guy. I had.

I then telephoned my insurance and explained what had happened. They said that because I have a Vollkasko (Fully comprehensive) policy, there was a clause which covered me for storm damage if the wind was stronger than 75 KmH.

If the wind was NOT stronger than this, then the other party is certainly liable. I was assured that whatever the outcome, I will not have to pay a penny and my no claims bonus will remain intact.

Thanks for the interest
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Old 19.06.2007, 14:07
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

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I first asked a Swiss friend of mine to call the company involved and just make sure that I understood the guy. I had.

I then telephoned my insurance and explained what had happened. They said that because I have a Vollkasko (Fully comprehensive) policy, there was a clause which covered me for storm damage if the wind was stronger than 75 KmH.

If the wind was NOT stronger than this, then the other party is certainly liable. I was assured that whatever the outcome, I will not have to pay a penny and my no claims bonus will remain intact.

Thanks for the interest
Good news

I can't believe there isn't some liability on the part of the other company, but that's for your insurance company to sort out with them now. What would have been interesting is whether you could have pursued such an action against the other company's insurance if you did NOT have the fully comp yourself.

An interesting point you bought up about the wind. I wonder how many people who stand behind me in the morning after I've had a night of Cana Bar / Hotel Spendid realise realise the importance of having adquate insurance cover
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Old 19.06.2007, 16:07
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

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Good news
An interesting point you bought up about the wind. I wonder how many people who stand behind me in the morning after I've had a night of Cana Bar / Hotel Spendid realise the importance of having adquate insurance cover
So now we're back to Act Of God again: A manifestation especially of a violent or destructive natural force, that is beyond human power to cause, prevent, or control.
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Old 20.06.2007, 02:07
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

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So now we're back to Act Of God again: A manifestation especially of a violent or destructive natural force, that is beyond human power to cause, prevent, or control.


I still can't work out that bit from Wikipedia I quoted earlier...

This does not protect those who put others in danger of acts of God through negligence, such as a camp counselor who instructs a group of children on a hike to stand under a tree to escape a lightning storm

So the counselor might have been camp. Why should that affect his responsibility
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Old 12.07.2013, 18:42
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

During the hail storm in Geneva on June 21 2013, our storm shutters were heavily dented. In addition, one of the velux/skylight windows in the ceiling leaked onto the ceramic tile floor (nothing major, I was home at the time and immediately dried the floor as well as put a bucket under the leak, and it hasn't leaked since.) I immediately notified our landlord that day. I was surprised when the landlord requested that I file a claim with my personal liability and renter's policy for the storm damage. Nothing in the interior of the unit was damage, and the damage was due to the sudden severe hail storm, not through any action of my own.

I do not want to file a claim on my insurance, as I do not want my rates to go up. The landlord has gotten my insurance information and has put his insurance company in touch with mine. Is there any chance my insurance pays for a part of this damage? Does anyone have any advice on this situation? Thanks
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Old 12.07.2013, 19:19
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Re: Who is responsible for damage during a storm?

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That bloke who got his head smashed in by a Christmas tree in Prague a few years back was said to have suffered from an act of God by the courts there and his family recieved nothing from the city authorities, even though it was their fault for not securing the tree properly.
Different country, I know...
I would say there are more believers in Prague then Switzerland ask music chick
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