Property damage can result from many types of accidents and incidents. Some legal claims may involve injuries to a person’s body, as well as damage or destruction to their property. Some common forms of property damage include:
- Damage to a car from a car crash or accident
- Burned walls, ceilings, or other parts of a home from a fire accident
- Items falling onto the roof of a home (such as a tree or the structure from another home)
- Water damage (for instance, if a plumber negligently installs a water pipe that then bursts; runoff from a neighbor’s property is also a common source of water damage)
- Broken windows or glass
- Various other forms of property damage
How is Property Damage Factored into a Lawsuit?
In a lawsuit, property damage is sometimes calculated into the overall damages award issued to a party. The property damage is usually factored into the compensatory damages award, which is intended to reimburse the plaintiff for losses caused by the other party’s actions. The amount of damages awarded can depend on several factors, including:
- The severity of the damage to the property
- Costs of replacing parts or materials (some parts can be difficult to find)
- Costs associated with repairs and other related services
- Losses caused by waiting for the repairs (for instance costs of relocating to a different living space or obtaining a temporary automobile)
Calculation of property damage awards can also involve other issues. For instance, damage awards may sometimes be increased if there were intentional acts involved, or if there were elements of recklessness involved. Intentional acts can lead to additional punitive damages.
Who Can be Held Liable for Property Damages?
Many different parties can be held liable for property damage. This can include: drivers of cars involved in an accident; persons responsible for building, installing, or making repairs to property, and other persons. In many instances, liability for property damage is based on a negligence theory of law.
To hold a person for negligence resulting in property damage, it is usually necessary to prove that the person had a duty of care to the other party, and that they disregarded that duty. The acts must also result in damage to the property that can be quantified.
An example of this is where a manufacturer of water pipes uses materials that are below industry standards for quality and safety. The manufacturer might be held liable if the pipes then cause any form of damage to the home of a consumer. Depending on the facts involved in the incident, as well as state laws, various other parties can be held liable as well.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Property Damage Issue?
Property damage claims can be complex and may require the assistance of a lawyer. You may wish to hire an personal injury attorney in your area if you need any type of guidance or representation for a lawsuit. Your attorney can provide research and advice throughout the duration of the process.