Liability, when it comes to property damage, can be pretty clear-cut, but sometimes it can also become complicated. In some instances, liability might rest with a person who was directly responsible for causing the damage. Third-party negligence can play a part as well, though it might be more difficult to prove, and can result in someone else being liable for damage. Natural causes do not leave you with a party for a civil suit in most cases, though your insurance should cover many of these situations.
Some of the easiest situations to determine liability for property damage are those in which a person is directly responsible for causing it. For example, if someone loses control of his vehicle and drives onto your property, crashing through a fence and damaging your home, then he would typically be liable for the damage. Anything that demonstrates negligence on his behalf, such as driving faster than the speed limit or texting on a phone while driving, would make a civil claim easier to support and may be grounds for greater punitive damages in such a claim.
There are also situations in which a third-party might be liable for damages due to negligence that caused an accident or other event. In the above example, if the driver had lost control due to a defect in the vehicle, that was known to the manufacturer and not properly handled, then the manufacturer might be liable for the damage done to your property. This type of negligent liability can be very difficult to prove, and you want an experienced lawyer on your side to try to do so. This kind of situation can become even more complex if your property is damaged in New York, but the manufacturer is located in another state or country.
Natural conditions can cause property damage through flooding, wildfires, and lightning storms. In these instances, you cannot usually point to a liable party for a civil claim to cover your damages. Your insurance should typically cover these types of damages, however, though this can certainly depend on your coverage. If you file an insurance claim that should be covered, and you are declined, then an experienced property damage lawyer can fight for you and work to demonstrate that your claim should be covered properly.
Property damage claims can be difficult to file, since they require a party that is liable for the damage. If you have suffered from recent New York property damage, then call us at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP today at (212) 986-7353. We can discuss your case, talk about your options, and work to ensure your rights are protected.