What can I do if a nearby construction project damaged my home?

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What can I do if a nearby construction project damaged my home?

About a mile from my home a large warehouse construction project began a few months ago. About a month ago I felt my whole house shake and thought a tree had fallen on it. I went outside to look but nothing had fallen. I also noticed my neighbor in his yard looking up at a tree next to his house. He thought the same thing I did. I checked local news for an earthquake or sonic boom but nothing was reported there. I now believe this was caused by blasting at the construction site and it has occurred several times since. It feels like my house was lifted a few inches off the ground and then dropped. The floor moves and windows rattle. Recently I noticed 2 cracks in my foundation and several large cracks on an interior basement wall. I don’t recall seeing these things previously. My belief is they were caused by the blasting. My homeowners insurance company tells me such damage is not covered by my policy. So is the construction company responsible? What can I do about this?

Asked on November 4, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if you can prove that the damage was caused by the blasting and that the blasting was reasonably likely to damage homes as far from the site as your is (i.e. that's not the case that the problem is that your home had shoddy construction or pre-existing unrepaired problems or damage that made it unusually vulnerable), then the construction company may well be liable, or financially responsible, for the cost of the damage. A good first step is to contact a civil engineer and have him/her examine your home and offer an opinion as to the cause of the damage and whether it was due to the blasting or not; if so, you should then, armed with the engineer's report, consult with an attorney to look into suing the company--you would need an engineer's report for any lawsuit, so you may as well get this done first, to see if it's even worthwhile looking to sue.


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