What to do if my neighbor’s insurance company refused a claim resulting from water damage from his unit to mine due to it being caused by “negligence”?

UPDATED: May 9, 2014

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What to do if my neighbor’s insurance company refused a claim resulting from water damage from his unit to mine due to it being caused by “negligence”?

So, this means any time there is water from bathrooms, kitchens, washing machines, water heaters, etc. I will have to bear the burden of the damage.

Asked on May 9, 2014 under Insurance Law, New Jersey


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Although your neighbor's insurance carrier rejected your claim, you can still sue your neighbor for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs from the water damage.

Although you could sue for negligence, it would be advisable to sue for nuisance instead of negligence.  Nuisance is a serious and unreasonable interference with the use or enjoyment of your property.  With negligence, you will have multiple lawsuits whenever there is a water leak from your neighbor. 

To avoid the problem of multiple lawsuits, with nuisance you can seek an injunction to stop your neighbor from allowing the water leaks to continue.  An injunction is an equitable remedy which is an alternative to monetary damages when damages are inadequate.  Damages are inadequate due to multiplicity of lawsuits.

The court may issue a temporary restraining order which would be in effect until a preliminary injunction is issued.  The preliminary injunction is then in effect until trial when the court will determine whether to grant a permanent injunction. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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