People file property damage claims for various reasons. Automobile accidents that result in damage to cars or motorcycles are the most common. Nevertheless, home and business establishment owners also routinely seek compensation for property repairs when natural or man-made disasters damage their properties. This article will discuss what property damage is and when to claim compensation.
According to the ISO’s liability policy, property damage’s definition consists of two sections:
1. Physical harm to tangible property which causes the loss of utility of that property.
2. Loss of utility of tangible property that has not been physically injured. The loss of use is deemed to have occurred at the time of the occurrence that caused it.
From that definition, property damage, therefore, results in three types of losses:
Physical injury or harm to tangible property.
Loss of use of tangible property.
Loss of use of unharmed tangible property.
Tangible property refers to belongings that can be felt or touched, such as a building, motorcycle, gas cooker, etc.
This refers to the inability to use tangible property, whether it has been physically injured or not.
Consider these situations:
• When loss of use is due to physical injury
Sally owns an apartment. She employs John, a painter, to paint a suite that was recently vacated. Incidentally, she has already leased the suite to a tenant who is scheduled to move in by July 1. However, when preparing the walls for painting, John accidentally starts a fire which damages the suite severely. Repairs take five months and the tenant is not able to move in until December 1.
Sally can sue John for both repair costs and the five months of lost rental income that the suite was not in use due to the damage.
• Loss of use when the property is not injured
A builder is constructing a wall next to a popular restaurant. One day, during construction, the wall collapses. Consequently, the local authorities prohibit access to the area to protect the public. As a result, the restaurant remains closed until the situation is resolved. In this case, it is within the restaurant owner’s rights to sue for compensation. Even though the wall did not damage the restaurant, people were restricted from accessing the premises which resulted in a loss of sales. The restaurant can demand compensation for these lost sales.
If your property, such as a business, vehicle, motorcycle, etc. is damaged or cannot be used due to someone else’s actions, you should seek compensation for those injuries or consequences resulting from their actions. Nevertheless, due to the complexity of property injury claims, it is imperative that you seek the services of a professional to help you through those murky waters, so you can receive the compensation you deserve.
Douglas Zane is part of a team of skilled, dedicated, and experienced lawyers with a reputation for success. We know the impact property damage can have on you and we are devoted to seeing to it that you get a fair settlement for your case. Moreover, Douglas Zane attorneys can help you understand your rights and options better, so you know what to do the next time you have an issue. Contact us today for legal help.
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