If my neighbor has a leak that caused extensive water and mold damage to the side of my house, who is responsible for the cost of the repairs?

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If my neighbor has a leak that caused extensive water and mold damage to the side of my house, who is responsible for the cost of the repairs?

I own a townhome and I share the same fire wall to the left and to the right of my house. Is my insurer liable or is his? What if doesn’t want to be responsible for any of the damages or tries to go the cheap way? He’s trying to make it look like it’s not a big deal when it is. We have up to 4′ high of mold growing on the walls and have a children with asthma and don’t know what to do.

Asked on April 13, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your neighbor is liable for the water and mold damage to your house and for the exacerbation  of your child's asthma.

You should file a claim with your neighbor's homeowner's insurance carrier.  Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking) would be the cost of repairs to your house.  If the case is NOT settled with the homeowner's insurance, you can sue your neighbor for nuisance.  Nuisance is an unreasonable interference with your use and enjoyment of your property.  Damages (monetary compensation) for the property damage to your house may be an inadequate remedy because land is unique and there would be a multipilicity of lawsuits due to an ongoing leak.  If damages are an inadequate remedy, you can seek an injunction to have your neighbor stop the leak.

The personal injury claim for exacerbation of your child's asthma is a separate claim.  You should obtain your child's medical bills and medical reports.  Your child's personal injury claim filed with your neighbor's homeowner's insurance carrier should include these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the asthma and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills. 

If the personal injury case is settled with the neighbor's homeowner's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the neighbor's homeowner's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the neighbor.  You will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on behalf of your child because he/she is a minor.  If the case is NOT settled with the neighbor's homeowner's insurance carrier, your lawsuit for negligence against the neighbor must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your child will lose his/her rights in the matter forever.

 


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