Lateral Support Liability Lawyers

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What is Lateral Support?

Lateral support is support for your property that comes from neighboring property.  It prevents against landslips, cave-ins, landslides, and floods.

What Lateral Support Rights Do Landowners Have?

Landowners have a common law right to lateral support.  Each landowner can expect to have their land supported in its natural condition by neighboring property.  Under certain circumstances, a person who disturbs the implied right of lateral support can be liable to the property owner.

When Can Someone be Liable for Disturbing Another Person's Lateral Support?

Liability for disturbing another landowner's right of lateral support fall into two general categories:

Excavation

If property owner B excavates land from his property and as a result disturbs the lateral support of neighbor A, then B will generally be liable for any damages caused by landslips, landslides, or floods.  Most states treat such disturbances as strict liability, meaning B does not have to be at fault for disturbing A's lateral support - only that he does disturb it.

Construction

If construction is occurring on neighboring property, most courts distinguish between the condition of the land, and determine liability accordingly.  The most common distinction is:

  1. Added Weight - If the added weight of constructing on top of neighboring land is the cause of the disturbance to another person's lateral support, the majority of states apply negligence principles to determine liability.  For example, if B did not use due care to avoid disturbing A's lateral support when B constructed a home on neighboring land that cannot support it, B will be liable to A for any damages that result.
  2. Natural Condition - If the added weight of constructing on top of neighboring land alone would not disturb another person's lateral support, but a disturbance occurs anyway, most states apply strict liability principles to determine liability.  For example, if B constructs a home on neighboring land and disturbs A's lateral support, B will be strictly liable to A for any damages that result.

Do I Need an Attorney for my Lateral Support Liability Problem?

If the lateral support for your property has been disturbed, or you are facing liability to another person for disturbing their property's lateral support, it is highly recommended for you to contact a real estate attorney.  Only they will be able to properly address the issues with you and help defend your rights.

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Last Modified: 11-13-2013 11:30 AM PST

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