Downed power lines totaled my car. Is the power company/ township liable for damages?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Downed power lines totaled my car. Is the power company/ township liable for damages?

A power line came down last weekend, and landed on my parked car. The car caught
fire and was totaled, and a number of personal effects were also damaged. I was
not present at the time, but the police indicated over the phone that wind may
have been to blame for the wire coming down. My question is, is the power company
or the township liable for any damages, or does this fall under act of god?

Asked on May 19, 2016 under Accident Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The owner of the wires (presumably the power company) is only liable if they were at fault in causing the wires to fall, such as by not performing regular maintenance or not making repairs after someone phoned in that the wires or poles seemed to be damaged. But if there didn't do anything wrong and it was just high wind, they are not liable, and you could only seek compensation from your own insurance, if you have applicable coverage.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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