Visitor Question

Faulty Coffee Maker Causes Fire…

Submitted By: Angie (Supply, NC)

In Oct 2008, a coffee maker caused a fire that destroyed my home. My homeowners insurance paid the policy in full but it wasn’t enough to make the home whole again after paying mortgage. I got very sick working in the contaminated environment, coughing blood and eventually being hospitalized with bacterial pneumonia.

I notified Consumer safety, the FDA and the Red Cross. After researching I finally reported the incident to the insurance company that represents claims for the coffee maker.

They made an offer for settlement of $10,000 after I had expressed to them that I needed to borrow an additional $20,000 just to get as far as I have in reconstruction of property. Half of my home was totally destroyed and the rest was smoked out. So I refused the offer.

They turned the claim over to their insurance company, who are now paying my homeowners insurance back. The fire marshal stated that the coffee maker was at fault for the fire. The coffee maker’s insurance company has contacted me now and wants a dollar amount from me.

What am I entitled to in the state of North Carolina?

The homeowners insurance did not provide enough to finish the crawl space and now animals are getting under the home doing more damage. I have told them this. Now they seem to be ignoring me on responding.

They also commented that they may not be responsible and I stated that they would not have offered me money nor would they be paying the homeowners insurance back if that was the case.

I have gone this far on my own and I do not know if I need to get an attorney at this point or wait and see what they offer. What do you think of this case? Thanks for the help.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Angie,


In your case you are seeking recovery for:

A. Your past, present, and future health costs; and

B. The damage to your home, including not only the rebuilding, but for any ancillary costs which resulted from the fire.

In many simpler cases the need for an Attorney might be lessened, but when the facts become complex you should rely on the wisdom and experience of a qualified and reputable Attorney. The State of North Carolina’s insurance laws are quite similar to those in many other states.

You do not have to commit to hiring an Attorney at this point. Instead you should seek out a skilled Personal Injury Attorney and make an appointment for a consultation in her office. Most reputable Personal Injury Attorneys do not charge a fee for the initial consultation.

In that consultation you can present the facts of your case to the Attorney. Skilled Personal Injury Attorneys should be able to give you an honest assessment of your chances, working with or without an Attorney.

In the interim, unless it is for emergency needs, you should not sign any documents until you visit with the Attorney of your choice. That’s the smart play!

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: May 16, 2011

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