Loss in Property Value from Contamination
I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.
Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.
Today’s question comes from a listener who asks “our neighbor sprayed weed killer on his property and it drifted onto our property killing acres of vegetation and sickening our entire family as well as our purebred show dogs, how do we calculate the damages we are entitled to recover under the law for such a case?”
A property can lose its value if the property somehow suffers contamination. People and animals, in addition to vegetation, can be harmed.
Let’s first address property damage.
As to property damage … where the property is repairable or restorable, damages may be proved:
(a) by proof of the difference between the fair market value thereof immediately before and immediately after the traumatic event,
or at the election of the damaged party, damages may be proved .. .
(b) by showing the cost to repair or restore the property, accompanied by proof
(1) of the actual physical damage to the property sustained as a result of the traumatic event,
(2) showing proof that the cost to repair such damage was reasonable, and
(3) showing that repair costs bear a reasonable relationship to the difference between the fair market value of the property just before and just after the traumatic event,
In addition to damages to the land, the damaged party is entitled to recover for past and future (prospective) loss of use caused by a wrongdoer.
Let’s now take a look at nuisance damages:
Where property is damaged as a result of a temporary nuisance and the property remains occupied by the owner, reduction in value of the use of the property during the time the nuisance continues is the proper measure of damages.
Nuisance damages also includes recovery for the inconvenience, annoyance and discomfort caused by the nuisance. These are personal losses and they are recoverable in additions to loss of use of property as measured in the reduction of rental value.
A damaged party can also recover for any injury to health or other personal injury sustained, and can recover for medical care expenses supported by appropriate medical evidence.
Depending on the case there may be other damages. For example, if exposure to a chemical is known to cause cancer 20 years after exposure, then the cost to have medical checkups ever year into the future can be recovered as an element of damage.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.