When a neighbor or nearby property owner intentionally diverts the natural flow of water from their property onto your land, serious and potentially expensive damages to your home or land can result. Homeowners who find themselves in this situation may have questions about what they can do to stop the damage to their property or to recover the costs of correcting and repairing this water damage. “Diverting” the natural flow of water can include a neighbor altering the topography of their land or building a structure that increases or changes the flow of water onto your property, or making some alteration to their property which backs water up onto your property.
The Texas Water Code contains explicit provisions regarding neighbors and other property owners who illegally divert water from their land onto a nearby property. A provision of the Texas Water Code entitled “Overflow Caused by Diversion of Water” states the following:
(a) No person may divert or impound the natural flow of surface waters in this state, or permit a diversion or impounding by him to continue, in a manner that damages the property of another by the overflow of the water diverted or impounded.
(b) A person whose property is injured by an overflow of water caused by an unlawful diversion or impounding has remedies at law and in equity and may recover damages occasioned by the overflow.
Property owners who wish to stop a neighbor’s water from damaging their property must be able to prove not only that damage has occurred but that a neighbor’s actions were responsible for causing it. As a recent ruling by the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas showed, when property owners fail to demonstrate that water damage caused by a neighbor’s illegal diversion of water has occurred, they may be unable to recoup their property losses in a court of law.
Water that has been diverted from a nearby property onto your land can lead to flooding, property loss, foundation damage, mold, soil erosion, and other damage. Although some insurance policies may cover water damage from illegally diverted water, others do not. Even when the damage is covered under the property owner’s policy, the insurance company may refuse to cover the full cost of the damage or for losses involving damage to personal items.
Filing a Water Damage Lawsuit in Texas
Although Texas law makes it illegal to cause water damage to the land or property of another person, it may be necessary for homeowners and property owners to file a lawsuit in court to recover their damages for property losses caused by water damage.
Although water damage may seem easy to identify, the process of proving that a neighbor or nearby property owner is responsible for this damage can be a complicated process. In order to prove that illegal water damage has occurred, depositions must be collected from the parties to the lawsuit in order to establish the facts of the case. Documents regarding the properties in question, insurance policies relevant to the case, and evaluations of the damages suffered by the person who filed the lawsuit may also need to be collected in order to determine establish a case.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have years of experience in lawsuit involving commercial disputes, insurance claims, and other legal matters. In January 2015, our law firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of Texas homeowners whose property was damaged as a result of water damage and flooding caused by a neighboring landowner. Heygood, Orr & Pearson has represented other parties in disputes regarding water damage and diversion of water.
If your property has been damaged by flooding or runoff from another property, you may qualify to file a lawsuit and recover damages. The first step in filing a lawsuit to prevent further damage to your property is to speak with an attorney to learn more about whether you qualify to file a case.
For a free legal consolation to learn more about your legal options, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling us toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions to get started.