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Subrogation Lawsuits


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Hi all,

I'm doing some research for an article and I'm interested in getting some facts about current or past lawsuits against home inspectors that involved suits initiated by homeowners who were not clients of the inspectors.

Specifically, I'm looking for instances where the homeowners had managed to get their hands on copies of an inspector's report done for buyers who'd walked away from the home that litigants had bought. The basis for this process is, I believe, a concept known as "subrogation."

I'm also interested in knowing about inspectors who'd lost suits involving this or those that had to spend large amounts of money to defend themselves because of it.

I'd prefer known facts where you can provide me solid paper trails or URL's to follow, but I'm not fussy. If you know of someone who's mentioned this in casual H.I. conversation, I can still attempt to hunt that person down and confirm whether it was an actual situation and whether it is inspector folklore.

If anyone can help me out I'd appreciate it. Please send your information/tips to me by email at: hausdok@msn.com



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Somewhat off topic but related...

I have not been sued in this way but something occured recently that raised the hairs on the back of my neck. I got a call from a client (inspection was done last June) and she asked I could send a copy of the home inspecton report to her Homeowner Insurance Company. I asked her why and she told me that she had a serious electrical fire in her attic and that her insurance company asked her for a copy of the home inspection report as "Part of the adjustment process." Her records were destroyed in the fire so she does not have the report.

I immediately assumed that they wanted to use the report to see if I missed something so they could come after me or if I recommended correcting something that was not done to use as a way to deny a claim.

I quickly reviewed the report and was glad to see that it stated that the electrical system was substandard for a variety of reasons. I recommended that an electrician be called-in to inspect and upgrade the system because of the problems. I faxed a copy of the report directly to her.

I don't think she did anything about the electrical system problems before the fire.

I think I am OK (you never know) but I advised her that she should not give the report to the insurance company until she consulted with her lawyer about the situation.

Have not heard anything since. I am crossing my fingers.

If I missed an obvious electrical problem I wonder if the insurance company could or would have made a claim against me.

Steve H.

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I had a similar thing happen. A house that I inspected burned down and the insurance company suspected a furnace in a second story closet was at fault. My client wanted another copy of the report sent to them so they could give it to the insurance company. I reminded the client that the report warned them about the improperly wired and vented furnace and if they did nothing to address it, the insurance company might find them partially at fault. They decided to tell the insurance company that the report was destroyed in the fire and could not be replaced.

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