Who is responsible for damage to my driveway caused by settling in of the sides of the county drainage ditch along side my driveway?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Who is responsible for damage to my driveway caused by settling in of the sides of the county drainage ditch along side my driveway?

I have a county drainage ditch easement along side of my property and now my driveway on the ditch side has dropped about 6 inches and has cracked in several spots. Who is responsible for damage to my driveway?

Asked on April 5, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The county may be responsible if you can prove the following: 1) the ditch caused the settling; 2) the county was aware of the problem  as it developed (if not aware, they would not be expected to do anything), and 3) despite being aware of, they failed to take reasonable actions to prevent  or mitigate damage. Proving item 2) may be very difficult; but again, if you can't prove their knowledge, they are not liable or responsible.
It generally is difficult to sue the government: there are special paperwork and notice requirements, and they have attorneys to defend suits. At the end of the day, it may be faster and more cost effective to simply pay to correct the situation.

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