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Answer: It seems to me that your neighbor WAS negligent. I suggest that you make a 1/2 hr to 1 hr consultation with an insurance attorney in your area to see if this matter is worth pursuing (you can probably write the damage off of your taxes).
You can find attorneys through this referral service:
I wish you the best.
Sure, of course, depending on the amount of damage.
In Maryland, the Small Claims Court limit is: $5K
Don't forget - if you file, ask for the cost of filing and cost of service to be awarded to you. Submit copies of all pertinent records as exhibits.
I'll opt out and perhaps a Maryland attorney can assist you further.
Good luck to you.