Your home is at the center of your life. The many hours you spend at work are partly to pay your mortgage, maintain and repair your property, and furnish your home with those things that make it warm and comfortable. You expect to deal with normal wear and tear, and you may even anticipate damage from a Texas storm or other act of nature. One issue many homeowners dread is water damage.
If a pipe bursts, a toilet overflows or the roof leaks, you will likely end up with damage to your walls, ceiling or floor. If you catch it in time, you can limit the damage, but you may still be looking at a costly repair. When the water comes from a source beyond your control, such as your neighbor's property, the situation is altogether different.
Can I sue?
In most cases, your neighbors can't control how the water flows from their property to yours. Natural runoff after a heavy rain may course through your yard or even end up in your basement. On the other hand, your neighbors may have intentionally re-routed the water to your land or altered their property so that the water caused damage to your property. For example, paving a driveway, changing the landscape or building a structure may have directed heavy runoff to your land.
You may have cause for legal action. If you file a claim against your neighbor for damage your property sustained because your neighbor's actions altered the flow of water, you will have to present enough documentation to convince the court that you deserve compensation.
How can I prove my case?
Some factors the court will consider include the following:
- Were your neighbor's changes to the property necessary?
- Did your neighbor know that those changes had the potential to cause damaging water flow onto your property?
- Was the damage to your property more substantial than the benefit your neighbor gained from making the changes?
The law allows property owners to protect their land from heavy water drainage. However, if your neighbors made the changes to protect their own property from damaging runoff, you may still have a chance at a successful civil claim. This may result in compensation for repairing or replacing damaged property, medical expenses if injury resulted and living expenses if your home sustained damage that forced you to stay somewhere else. You may also qualify for punitive damages if the court finds your neighbors intentionally caused the damage.
When facing issues that place your home and safety in danger, you want to be sure you have strong advocacy and skilled representation. Seeking the assistance of an experienced litigator who knows Texas property laws is a wise move.