How to Sue Someone for Property Damage

Has someone damaged your property and you haven’t received compensation?

Property damage can occur because of a variety of reasons, but it can cause victims to suffer from massive losses. Damaged homes, vehicles, and other pieces of property can prevent a person from going about their daily life.

Fortunately, the legal system allows victims of property damage to seek compensation. If someone damages your property, you can sue for damage. But what defines property damage and how can you sue?

Read on to learn how to sue someone for property damage.

What Is Property Damage?

Anything that you own is your property. Property laws also include pets and perishable items like food as your belongings. Property damage laws state when someone damages your belongings, you are a victim.

Property damage is essentially an injury to someone or something because of the negligence of someone or malicious intent. When nature damages your property, this is still considered property damage.

Should your property be damaged because of an act of nature, there isn’t much you can do besides file an insurance claim. Because the damage wasn’t the fault of someone else, there’s no one you can go after.

Negligent Property Damage

Negligence is when someone is careless.

For example, think of a neighbor that refuses to take care of their tree. After some time, the tree falls onto your roof. This can be considered negligence because the neighbor allowed their property to ruin someone else’s.

Accidental Property Damage

Accidental property damage can be caused by negligence, but this type of damage happens when someone didn’t mean to do something. If your phone were to slip out of your friend’s hand and fall into a puddle, this is an accident.

Malicious Property Damage

Malicious property damage happens when someone damages your property on purpose.

If someone were to go to your house and slash your tires, this is a malicious act. Things like vandalism can also be considered malicious property damage.

Can Insurance Help?

Depending on who your insurer is, they might have a plan that will help you cover the costs of property damage. In cases where acts of nature have destroyed your property, you’re more likely to get help from insurance than you would for other damages.

If you were to get into an accident with another driver and it was their fault, their insurance would cover the damages to your vehicle. However, they won’t cover the complete costs if their liability isn’t high enough.

When your damages end up costing more than what their insurance will pay, you’ll have to sue the person at fault for the rest of the money. 

Your insurance policy can help you in cases where you damage someone’s property because of negligence. If your teenager accidentally hit a baseball through someone’s window, your insurance will cover it but you might have to pay more on your insurance.

What Happens If the Damage Was an Accident?

While accidents are intentional events, they’re still considered property damage and the person at fault must be held liable. If accidents were swept under the rug, more people would try to use them as excuses to get out of paying.

Sometimes, accidental property damage happens because of the negligence of someone else. Let’s say you trip on a crack in someone’s home. The homeowner can be considered negligent because he should’ve repaired the crack.

In cases where you accidentally damage something because of someone’s negligence, the negligent person will often be held accountable. This is one of the few cases where the person that accidentally damaged something can sue for damage. 

How to Sue Someone for Property Damage

The legal system is designed to allow victims of property damage to get compensation for their property. If you think you have a viable case against someone, these are your options when it comes to suing:

Sue In a Small Claims Court

Small claims courts are generally used by those that would like to file a claim for small property damage. For example, if someone breaks your iPad, you’d most likely go to a small claims court.

These claims usually happen after someone breaks something and promises to pay the owner back. However, they refuse to pay for the damage so action must be taken. 

When you’re suing for property damage, you’ll need to prove to the judge that your property was damaged and that it was the defendant’s fault. Any documents that show the value of the item, such as receipts, will increase your chances of receiving the proper amount.

Hire a Lawyer

Hiring a lawyer is the best route if you want to sue for property damage that will greatly affect you. A lawyer can help you determine whether you’d have a good case, and they’ll work with you to ensure you receive compensation.

There are many firms, such as the Law Office of Julie Johnson, that provide lawyers to victims for a variety of reasons. If someone injures you or your property, a lawyer will benefit you because they know more about the laws. 

If You’re a Victim of Property Damage, Sue Today

Because property damage can affect how a person lives, you’ll have to be careful when you’re around other people’s property. A victim can hold you accountable and will be forced to pay if you damage someone’s belongings.

If any of your belongings have been damaged by someone, you can get compensation by suing for damage. Ensure that you gather any related documentation and consult with a lawyer. Knowing how to sue someone for property damage will save you time, money, and stress.

Feel free to browse our news section to find cases of property damage and how they went.