Can You Sue Your Neighbor For Water Damage?

Has your property or home recently suffered water damage from an incident that started on a neighbor’s property? If so, you may have a costly repair bill that needs to be paid. Also, your homeowner’s insurance company may not be eager to pay the bill, claiming that the liability falls on your neighbor and their insurance company. In this situation, you may have no choice but to explore legal remedies. Fortunately, you do have options.Here are a few important things to consider:

Was the damage the result of rainfall? Often, courts consider rain to be a common enemy. That means that all neighbors must deal with it and liability for rainfall can’t be placed on any one party. This is usually true even if your home is at a lower elevation than your neighbors and the water drained from their yard.

The exception to this would be if your neighbor made an unreasonable change to their landscape that intentionally diverts water into your yard. In that instance, the rainfall accumulation would probably no longer be considered a natural act and would likely be viewed as the liability of the neighbor.

Was it the result of negligence or recklessness? These instances are usually more clear-cut. If your neighbor made a mistake that caused the water damage and you can prove it, a court will likely find liability on their part. A common example of this is a neighbor who doesn’t drain their sprinkler system before winter. The pipes then freeze and explode, sending water around the foundations of neighboring homes.

If you suspect that the water damage was caused by your neighbor’s negligence, have a qualified contractor examine the damage. You may also ask them to carefully document the damage and what they believe the cause is. They could even videotape it. That will help you present your case in court or in settlement negotiations.

What damages can you pursue? Your damages are likely limited to whatever is needed to make the situation right. That includes the cost of repairing the water damage along with any collateral damage that may have been caused. If the water damage forced you out of your home, you may be able to pursue compensation for the cost of alternative living arrangements. If the damage was so extreme that it caused you mental anguish, you may be able to pursue damages for pain and suffering.

In some cases, a judge may rule in your favor, but not award you any money. Instead, the judge may simply order the neighbor to get the problem repaired. The court may view this as a simpler and more effective resolution than money exchanging hands.

An attorney who has experience in property disputes can review the situation and advise you of your options. Contact a lawyer from a firm like Dukeshire Law Office for more information.

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