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  • Persons & Entities That May Cause Real Estate & Land Damage

  • Real estate and land damage can be caused by individuals, corporations, and governments as follows:

    NEIGHBORS: Often a neighbor, whether it be a private homeowner, government or a corporation, is at fault and can cause damage by improperly handling the water drainage from their land, which is then directed above or below ground onto a neighboring property. Neighbors or others can also cause toxic invasions, damaging fires, or damaging explosions. The invading water, toxics, fires or explosions can cause land failure, erosion, damage to buildings & site improvements, & tree/landscape damage ­ as well as personal injuries. This damage can also make a property susceptible to damage in a future earthquake.

    DISTANT LANDOWNERS: If a nearby or distant upstream or uphill private landowner or government alters the natural flow of water, or causes a toxic invasion or fire in an area that may adversely affect your property, liability can result. An attorney with technical knowledge and experience in this area can properly analyze the unique circumstances in a given matter.

    GOVERNMENTS and PUBLIC ENTITIES: A local, state or federal government or other public entities such as water districts or public utility companies, can cause damage in a variety of ways. These entities can cause damage by flooding, mud­flows, toxic invasion, or fires. Flood control departments are responsible for handling drainage water in a particular area. These departments could use poor judgment in the design of their facilities, which may result in damage to private land. These failures are often revealed during periods of heavy rain, and can be unapparent during times of drought. Such damage by governments often trigger a cause of action known as Inverse Condemnation, which results in a form of strict liability, and in which the liability portion is tried before a judge without a jury (generally to the advantage of the person bringing suit).

    Whenever you are seeking damages against a government, California law requires that you first file a "tort claim" and receive actual or constructive denial of the tort claim before an actual lawsuit is commenced. Statutes of limitation (time limits to file a tort claim) are very short. Contact competent legal counsel immediately if an action against a government, governmental agency or a public utility company is being considered. You will lose your rights to sue if a tort claim is not filed in such a case.

    CONTRACTORS, ARCHITECTS and ENGINEERS: Land improvements, including building construction, is a result of the efforts of contractors, architects and engineers. Arborists or Landscape Installation/Maintenance Contractors can cause damage by failing/falling trees. Failures in the performance by any of these professionals can result in real estate and land damage. An attorney must be intimately familiar with these professions and practices in order to find success.

    CORPORATIONS including HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS: A corporation can be responsible for real property damage in many ways. In addition, a homeowners association for a condominium or co-­op can be liable for various types of property damage, including toxic mold invasions.

    An attorney must be technically knowledgeable regarding the functions of persons or entities who may cause real estate and land damage in order to prevail. Without this knowledge, proper defendants cannot be identified. An attorney must be able to employ proper legal theories woven together with technical analysis in order to be successful.