When we talk about property damage, we refer to any harm that comes to physical things you own. This can include your house, car, or even bike. Property damage can happen because of uncontrollable events like storms and fires or because someone did something (or failed to do something) that resulted in harm.
Common ways property can get damaged include:
Sometimes Mother Nature is to blame, with her powerful winds, fires, hailstorms, floods, or icy conditions. Other times, it’s due to people, whether they meant to do it through arson or it was unintentional in a car accident.
Generally, property is split into two categories: real or personal.
Real Property includes:
Personal Property (Chattels) includes:
Both real and personal property can be subject to damage or destruction. If this happens, owners can seek legal compensation for their damaged or lost property.
Negligence claims arise when someone’s careless actions lead to damage to your property.
To establish negligence, you must show:
Consider an example where you contract a landscaper to maintain your yard. The landscaper accidentally damages an underground pipe, causing a flood in your garden. The landscaper had a duty to work with care, which was breached by the accidental damage, leading to a specific repair cost.
Trespass to chattels occurs when someone intentionally meddles with your possessions.
To bring a claim, you need to prove:
For example, say a neighbor’s child intentionally throws paint over your outdoor furniture. The furniture is your personal property, and this deliberate act could be considered trespass to chattels. This could lead to a claim for the cost of cleanup or replacement.
Conversion involves someone taking or destroying your property in a way that asserts control over it. This might be the right claim if your property is taken or irreparably harmed.
Imagine a scenario where a contractor is hired to renovate your office but removes and keeps your equipment. This could be considered conversion because the contractor has exerted unauthorized control over your property. You could claim the current market value of the equipment as damages.
This legal cause of action arises when someone enters your property without permission. If an individual enters your property without consent and causes damage, you can seek compensation for the harm done.
Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring their products are safe. You might have a product liability claim if a product defect leads to property damage.
To pursue this, you must show:
For instance, if you purchase a new electronic device that malfunctions and sparks a fire, damaging your home, you can seek damages for the repairs needed.
If someone unlawfully and intentionally harms your property, it’s essential to take the following steps:
Remember, in these situations, you should consult with an attorney specializing in property damage to guide you through the process and protect your rights.
The statute of limitations for personal property damage claims is typically six years. However, it’s crucial to consult with a Portland personal injury attorney to confirm this time frame. Exceptions or specific circumstances could alter the period you must file a claim. An attorney can provide guidance tailored to your situation and ensure you take legal action within the applicable deadlines.
Property damage can be stressful and expensive to deal with. You should not have to go through this frustrating process alone. Contact Tillmann Law Personal Injury Lawyers at (503) 272-8986 to schedule a free consultation with our Portland personal injury attorney.