What to do if my neighbor’s insurance company refused a claim resulting from water damage from his unit to mine due to it being caused by “negligence”?

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What to do if my neighbor’s insurance company refused a claim resulting from water damage from his unit to mine due to it being caused by “negligence”?

So, this means any time there is water from bathrooms, kitchens, washing machines, water heaters, etc. I will have to bear the burden of the damage.

Asked on May 9, 2014 under Insurance Law, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Although your neighbor's insurance carrier rejected your claim, you can still sue your neighbor for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs from the water damage.

Although you could sue for negligence, it would be advisable to sue for nuisance instead of negligence.  Nuisance is a serious and unreasonable interference with the use or enjoyment of your property.  With negligence, you will have multiple lawsuits whenever there is a water leak from your neighbor. 

To avoid the problem of multiple lawsuits, with nuisance you can seek an injunction to stop your neighbor from allowing the water leaks to continue.  An injunction is an equitable remedy which is an alternative to monetary damages when damages are inadequate.  Damages are inadequate due to multiplicity of lawsuits.

The court may issue a temporary restraining order which would be in effect until a preliminary injunction is issued.  The preliminary injunction is then in effect until trial when the court will determine whether to grant a permanent injunction. 


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