It seems like more flooding across the US has been happening in recent years. Hurricane Matthew recently pounded the entire east coast, and the flooding from the storm was really bad in certain areas. It’s flooding more and more everywhere, and you know how when it floods, that storm water runs off for days. It can be days later, and the water starts flooding more and more properties. What legal rights and legal claims do homeowners have when it comes to stormwater?
You may think about it being more cut and dry, but it’s not. For example, what if during the storm, the city officials do something to divert the water? That changes everything, and that would mean homeowners have a claim for starters. It’s all about the local city government being liable for the damages that occur thanks to the storm water being diverted. Of course, that’s just one situation, and as I said, there are many other ways everything can play out.
Now, what if a homeowner does that to another homeowner? If you don’t understand what I’m talking about just yet, imagine a house sitting uphill on an adjoining property. Imagine the water from a storm settling on that property and then being unleashed on its neighbor. Does it have to be proven to have been done purposefully? If so, then that can be a difficult burden of proof you would think. The same thing happened to my friend who works at Naegeli in Tacoma. The other party paid for the damages in this case.
What you’re also going to find out in the US is that the laws are different from state to state. Can you think of any other situations in which another property owner or entity of some kind would be responsible for damage to another property when it comes to storm water runoff? Here’s one for you. Imagine construction companies taking on projects that affect soil erosion in the area. There are all kinds of ways in which someone can be held liable.
Once you learn about the different situations, you start to identify the categories for liability. Additionally, the path to a claim starts to narrow a little bit. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have millions of homeowners needing flood insurance when they are in particular areas of the country. Those flood zones seem to be growing, too. It may not be close to as common for people to have claims when it comes to storm water damage and flooding, but that’s how it goes.
That’s the gap that flood insurance is supposed to fill, and so it becomes an extra that many homeowners have to pay for. Be watchful though if you run into a situation where there is potential flooding in your area. If you live in a flood zone, know your rights and also the lay of the land so to speak. It’s not just about property damage when it comes to a claim, as personal injury claims are also part of the equation. If you think you have a claim or aren’t sure, then you need to get things checked out on your property.