As mentioned, fortunately the batteries have not yet claimed lives in Israel, but they have caused heavy damage to such and such homes, businesses and institutions. The question is who will pay for the damages caused by the fire. Sometimes, the damage amounts to hundreds of thousands of shekels per event. For the purpose of clarifying the issue, we turned to Adv. Eran Jakubowicz, an expert in insurance and tort law.
I was damaged in the apartment because of a battery that ignited a fire in it. Who can I sue?
The owner of the damaged property has the option of suing a number of parties. The first is the store from which the battery was purchased. If it turns out to be a non-standard battery sold by him, negligence can certainly be attributed to him. The battery importer also has a warranty for its products and is a relevant address for filing a claim. However, this is a complex procedure that requires proof of negligence, and therefore, given that there is insurance coverage for the structure and contents – the initial address for this will be the insurance company. This is a fire incident that is in principle covered by the policy. Once it has paid the insured, in accordance with the appraiser’s assessment, it will consider whether to file a claim against those parties which in its assessment were negligent.
If my battery was charged outside my home area and caused damage to the building as a result of a flare-up, can a lawsuit be filed against me?
Definitely. The insurance company or the injured party can file a lawsuit against the owner of the battery, but it can also file a lawsuit against other parties in the chain, including the store from which he bought the battery, the importer, etc. At the end of the day, should and the court finds that negligence led to the fire, it may determine their liability rate for the damage and divide the amount of compensation according to their relative share.
Is there any insurance that covers my liability for such damage?
The apartment policy has the option of a dedicated policy that covers third-party damages to electric bicycle riders. To the extent that it does not exceed coverage for bicycles, it is not inconceivable that the insurance company will step into the shoes of the insured and pay compensation to the injured party.