31
Oct2012
Legal Implications of Hurricanes

Legal Implications of Hurricanes

You may be wondering what the legal implications of hurricanes are. 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? We provide some information to help you navigate the legal implications of hurricanes in the event one effects you.

In the event a tree falls on your property, the owner of the property in which the tree is growing is responsible for damages; unless, the owner of that property is the government. The government does not have the same degree of culpability as private citizens. The sidewalk outside the home is also a bizarre area of the 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. Homeowners are expected to take preventative action. For example, if it’s apparent that a tree might fall, you have a responsibility to prevent such an event. 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. Homeowner policies rarely cover flood insurance. 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 the 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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