What if you were unprepared for the biggest legal battle of your life? Filing a property damage lawsuit is a very big decision. In some cases, it’s the only way to see justice served. But if you aren’t really prepared, you might end up spending a lot of time and money and have nothing to show for it. So, what do you need to learn before you file? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about property damage lawsuits!
Types of Property Damage Lawsuits
If you’ve never filed a property damage lawsuit before, you may be surprised to learn there are many types of such lawsuits. And it’s important to understand these lawsuit types before you take any legal action.
Sometimes, the property damage is the entire focus of the lawsuit. This may be the case if you believe that someone damaged your empty home or parked car and you want them held liable for the damage.
But what if you were inside the house or the car when it was damaged? In that case, you may also file a claim over the personal injury that you suffered. In that case, you’d be dealing with a large lawsuit that independently examines both the property damage and personal injury claims.
Common Types of Property Damage
Strictly speaking, the types of potential property damage are virtually endless. Nonetheless, there are some common types of such damage you should be aware of before filing a suit.
Car damage is fairly common. This may result from a car crash or other accident where you feel another party is liable for the damage.
Fire accidents at a home or business are another common type of damage. Even a “minor” fire can lead to serious damage to the walls and ceiling, and a successful lawsuit can help you pay for these damages.
Water damage is another common occurrence in a residential building. Everything from negligent plumbing to careless neighbors can lead to a surprising amount of damage to both the exterior and interior of your home.
Sometimes, damage to your home may come from things like falling trees. If the tree fell in part due to the negligence of a neighbor, then you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
Long story short? This is only a small sample of the types of property damage that may occur. As always, we recommend you bring your specific details to a professional attorney to see how solid your case really is.
How Damage Effects Lawsuits
Just as there are different types of property damage, the extent of the damage can affect your lawsuit in many possible ways. And it’s important to understand this process before you proceed with a lawsuit.
Property damage can sometimes be factored in entirely on its own. More often than not, though, it is part of the overall compensatory damages. This represents a sum total you may be awarded due to the actions (or inactions) of another party.
How much can you hope to receive, then? Some of this is easy to calculate, but other parts may be very complex.
For example, it’s easy enough to calculate the cost of replacement parts and labor to fix the damage. However, the damage may have caused an additional financial loss that you must calculate.
Financial Loss and Punitive Damage
Sometimes, property damage may cause a lingering effect on your income. For instance, you might end up missing out on work hours or even losing your job while you wait for your car to be repaired. In these cases, these financial losses would be factored into your potential award.
Another factor is punitive damages. Most of the time, property damage is accidental or a result of unintentional negligence. But if someone causes damage through intentional action, or perhaps reckless action, they may be charged for additional punitive damages on top of the cost of repairs, replacements, and awards for financial loss.
Who Can Be Liable?
We have reviewed several of the cases where you may be awarded compensation in a property damage lawsuit. However, it’s important to fully understand who can be liable in such a suit.
The short answer is that anyone directly responsible for property damage may be held liable. Sometimes, this is obvious, as when the driver of one vehicle crashes into your vehicle. Other times, it is less obvious, as when a manufacturer provides sub-par materials that eventually cause damage to your home.
Very often, a successful property damage lawsuit comes down to proving negligence on the part of another person.
Legally speaking, “negligence” is a very precise term. It refers to those who have a duty of care and effectively violated that duty.
For example, everyone has a fundamental “duty of care.” This means that you must take whatever reasonable actions you can in order to avoid injuring others. If someone is in control of a situation (such as driving a car), and they cause property damage either intentionally or accidentally, they may be considered negligent because they violated this duty of care.
Of course, the burden is on you and your lawyer to prove everything from the other party having a duty of care to the exact causes that led to a specific amount of damage.
The Importance of Legal Representation
One question we get a lot: how quickly should you contact an attorney for your property damage lawsuit? And our answer is always simple: as soon as you can!
A good property damage attorney can help you determine if you have a solid case or not. And if you do have a solid case, they can help you compile evidence, make the right phone calls, and generally create the strongest possible case.
At the end of the day, the math is simple. You are far likelier to win your lawsuit with a strong case. And the sooner you contact an attorney, the stronger your case will be.
Find the Right Property Damage Attorney
Now you know everything you need to learn about property damage lawsuits. But do you know where to find the legal help you need?
At Los Angeles Legal Solutions, we specialize in helping people just like you get the justice and compensation you deserve. To see what we can do for you, contact us today!