Is My Neighbor Liable For Damage To My Property?

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I believe my neighbor broke my original drain tile when he installed a fence on our properly line. This was about 5 years ago but I just discovered that my flooding issue, which started when he put up his fence, is probably a result of breakage that occurred when he dug the holes for his new fence. I recently had a new 85 foot of drain tile installed to stop the flooding in my property, and that is how I discovered the cause of my flooding issue (broken drain tile). I want to take him to small claims court for the cost of installing my new drain tile. If for some reason my old drain tile that he broke was located on his property when the houses were built, is he still liable for the breakage if it caused my yard to flood? I am not sure if the drain tile ran exactly on the properly line or a little bit over either way. Thank you!

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Setting aside for a moment the fact that this happened five years ago, and therefore might be beyond the statute of limitations in your area: If your neighbor did something that caused flooding on your property, it probably doesn’t matter whether it happened on his property or yours. In either case, he would be liable.

However, if you have something on your neighbor’s property, such as a drain tile, that would also be a trespass, and could be brought up by your neighbor as an offset to your claim. You should take this risk into consideration before you file suit.

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Author: House Attorney