The Business Litigation Blog

Legal Implications from Hurricane Sandy

Beyond the devastation and damages from the hurricane, there are several legal issues that are sure to come up. Ever consider who’s responsible if a tree were to fall on your house or your car? What if the tree is not on your property? Here’s some info to help you navigate these complex issues in the event you might be affected.

In the event that a tree were to fall on your property, the owner of the property in which the tree is growing is responsible for any damage caused; unless, the owner of that property is the government. The government does not have the same degree of culpability as private citizens do. The sidewalk outside the home is also a bizarre area of property to consider. Technically, the government owns it, but you are responsible for it.

If a tree were to fall on your car, then your car insurance will pay for it. You probably wouldn’t sue the property owner where the tree was growing because your insurance would cover the damages.

But negligence lawsuits do arise in these types of situations. In regards to taking care of your property properly, homeowners are expected to take preventative action. For example, if it’s apparent that a tree might fall if winds reach a certain speed, you have a responsibility to take action to eliminate such an event from occurring. If a homeowner does not address the problem and the tree were to fall on a car, then they are susceptible to a lawsuit for negligence. The negligence would be for the fair market value of your damages. Again, you probably wouldn’t sue because your insurance would cover the damages.

With Hurricane Sandy, there has also been flooding that has caused significant damage to homes. A lot of homeowner policies have exemptions for rain, flood and wind. Rarely is flood insurance covered in such a policy, and you usually have to buy this separately for a costly amount, from the federal government. In the case of Sandy, it’s rare to have flood insurance in these Northeastern states. So if you don’t have flood insurance and are affected, the homeowners will have to pay to fix the problem themselves.

An instance that is tough to prove is business losses, if in fact the hurricane has affected your business. You would have to prove how much the loss was and what you would have earned in that time period if you had been in business.

For more information on emergency business litigation matters, click here or call 312-223-1699 to speak with one of our Chicago law firm attorneys.

*Source: Fox Business

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