Can I sue for personal time lost and stress due to being forced out of my home as the result of an accident casued by a cableman?

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Can I sue for personal time lost and stress due to being forced out of my home as the result of an accident casued by a cableman?

I had a cableman come into my home and stepped on a pipe that ended in our house being flooded.They have been responsive in getting the construction money and personal property money but what about my time shopping for everything to replace and all my personal time dealing with contractors and stress being out of my home for the past 4 months?

Asked on June 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, the law does not allow recovery for stress. You *may* be able to seek compensaton for your lost time IF you can show that the lost time was time you could otherwise have been making money, and so that therefore the lost time caused you a demonstrable economic loss. For example, say you are a freelance graphic artist who bills at $25 per hour, or a bookkeeper who provides services as an independent contractor for $15 per hour...if you can demonstrate that you had to spend, say, 20 hours dealing with the problem and lost 20 billable hours, you  may be able to recover for that time. However, if you are unemployed, retired, a full time caregiver for a family member (like a child), or a salaried employee who did not in fact lose any income, you would not be able to recover for your time. The lost time must have directly caused an economic loss to have the potential to state a cognizable claim.


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