Property Damage?

by Sep 13, 2022Article

Property damage is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit, since property is prone to being damaged or destroyed. Luckily, the law offers a range of legal remedies for collecting compensation for the damaged property, either from your own insurance company or against the person responsible for damaging your property. Read on to learn more about property damage from Craig D. Rolle, a top property insurance lawyer in the Orlando area.

What Is Property Damage?

First, let’s define the term. Property damage is defined as “harm to real or personal property that occurred due to natural forces or someone’s act or omission” (Cornell Law). Damage to property comes in different ways and can include:

  • Commercial property damage
  • Residential property damage, including damage to your home, driveway, and trees
  • Damage to your personal property such as cars and bicycles

Natural causes of property damage include fire, wind, flooding, hail, and severe cold. Types of property damage due to another person’s actions include negligence (driving recklessly and causing a car accident) and intentional (vandalism or theft). 

Property Types

The law splits property into two categories: real property and personal property. Real property refers to the land and anything that is permanently attached to it, such as trees, houses, and buildings. Personal property, also known as chattels, is all other property, like cars, jewelry, or computers. Both kinds of property may be destroyed, damaged, or stolen and you can seek compensation for both types of property damage. 

Determining The Value Of Property Damage

If you’ve suffered property damage, you will need to know how much it is worth in order to file a claim or to sue the party responsible for causing the damage. Under Florida law, the value of property damage is calculated as the lesser of:

  1. How much it costs to replace, repair, or restore the property or
  2. The difference in market value immediately prior to damage and immediately afterwards

For example, if you purchase a new table for $2,000 and a visiting friend’s dog leaves chew marks on the leg. As damaged, the table is now worth $1,200. You find someone to repair the leg for $300. Now, the property loss is valued at $300, the cost to repair the table, since it is “lesser” than the diminution in market value ($800). 

Sentimental Value

An exception to the above general rule may apply to property that holds significant sentimental value. This refers to items that hold special personal value, such as a grandmother’s ring or a cherished set of silverware that has been handed down in the family for generations. A person must demonstrate the following to prove sentimental value:

  • The property had special personal value
  • The sentimental worth is not quantifiable in reflected market value
  • Limiting compensation to the market value would not reflect a fair judgment

Seeking Compensation For Property Damage

If another party is liable for damaging your property, you can sue them for compensation by establishing the following legal precedents:

  • Negligence
  • Trespass to Chattels
  • Trespass to Land
  • Conversion and Theft

If you have insurance policies on the damaged property, you may seek compensation through your insurer.

Contact Us Today

If you’ve suffered the loss or damage of valuable property, Craig D. Rolle will explore all available legal options and assist with filing a lawsuit or claim to compensate you for your loss. Call Craig D. Rolle, Esq. to schedule a consultation today!