Lateral support is a legal theory that involves adjoining landowners. Legally, landowners have the right to natural and physical support of their land from properties that borders their property.
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. A neighbor who engages in excavation or substantial change to his or her own property in which an adjoining property is damaged as a result, the damaged property owner can bring suit.
Liability for damaging another landowner's right of lateral support fall into two general categories:
If property owner B excavates land from his property and as a result damages the lateral support of neighbor A, then B will generally be liable for any damages caused by landslips, landslides, or floods. During the excavation, neighbors engaged in excavation have a duty to take extra measures to protect neighboring property. 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.
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:
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. An attorney can help you understand your case and can defend your rights.
Last Modified: 05-05-2014 12:35 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.