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Hammer O'Justice
Hammer O'Justice, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3970
Experience:  9 years legal experience
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My neighbors gutter was not sealed & water wasnt draining properly-it

Customer Question

My neighbors gutter was not sealed & water wasnt draining properly-it was shooting over to my backyard and causing flooding. I saw this at the end of May/beginning of June. I told the tenants about it and they told the landlord. A month or two later I saw it happening again. I again told the tenant who said he had told the landlady . I told him it really needed to be fixed because it was getting worse. She had someone look at it but they didn't fix it. On Sept. 27th it rained really hard and not only did my backyard flood, the water also came in through the backdoor and flooded my kitchen. My insurance company won't cover $ her's wont either. Her insurance company says that problems also existed on my property-drainage and grading but it was covered by a roof-and contributed to the problem so she's not responsible as MD is a non-contributory state. Her tenant also saw the same thing and told her about it for a 3rd. Isn't she also negligent for not fixing it since she was told 3 times?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Jane Doe Deer replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for contacting Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you.

 

There can sometimes be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be researching the answer to your question, helping other customers, or taking a break. If we're writing late in the evening, I may need to get some sleep and resume helping you the following morning.

 

Sometimes I'm unable to read your entire question until AFTER I write back to you. So, if I suggest something you already tried, it's because I couldn't see part of your original question. Just write back to me and let me know.

 

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:

http://www.msba.org/sec_comm/sections/yls/disas/disaster_legalaid.html

 

 

 

I wish you the best.

 

Customer/p>

 

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Is this something I can pursue through small claims court?
Expert:  Jane Doe Deer replied 5 years ago.

Sure, of course, depending on the amount of damage.

 

In Maryland, the Small Claims Court limit is: $5K

 

http://mdcourts.gov/district/forms/civil/dccv001br.html

 

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 wish you the best.

 

Customer/p>

 

 

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The last thing I would like to know revolves around this non-contributory statement by the insurance company. Is this accurate? Or is this another issue separate from negligence. Because it then sounds like noone would have to fix anything despite knowing about a problem if there other issues present.
Expert:  Jane Doe Deer replied 5 years ago.
It sound to me like BS because the insurance company doesn't want to pay (it would be your neighbor's insurance company). The way they're addressing this, no one would ever be responsible for anything!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I did not access my email yesterday. And I agree it sounds like BS but I would like to know if the insurance companies statement regarding negligence is true in the state of MD before I pursue this any further.
Expert:  Jane Doe Deer replied 5 years ago.

I'll opt out and perhaps a Maryland attorney can assist you further.

 

Good luck to you.

 

Jane

Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 5 years ago.
Hello.

While it is possible that if you were contributorily negligent to the problem you would be barred from recovering, it is also possible that the insurance company was arbitrary in determining that any of the conditions on your property actually did contribute to the damage.

Before you sue the homeowner in a small claims court, I would suggest that you file a complaint with the Maryland Insurance Administration. They investigate consumer complaints about insurance practices and make sure that the insurance industry is compliant with Maryland law. Here is a link to the consumer information (there is also a link to the complaint form on the website):

http://www.mdinsurance.state.md.us/sa/jsp/consumer/Consumer.jsp?divisionName=Consumer+Information&pageName=/sa/jsp/consumer/Consumer.jsp

If that doesn't work, you may have to go after the homeowner in small claims court, at which time I would suggest you consult with a civil practice lawyer who can represent you.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks - much more helpful! I would like to know though, if possible to know, if that is a fact regarding contributory negligence. The insurance rep actually stated that if there is ANY negligence on my part, then my neighbor is not responsible at all.
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 5 years ago.
To some extent that is true. However, it is not ANY negligence on your part, it is any contributory negligence on your part. That is, your alleged negligence must have contributed in some way to the actual destruction of the property. That could bar recovery on your part. There are a couple narrow exceptions to the contributory negligence rule, one being the "last clear chance" doctrine that means that the other party had the last clear chance to avoid the problem. You could argue that because you repeatedly alerted the other individual, that person had the last clear chance to avoid the problem. Insurance companies always try to evade payment based on contributory negligence, and the insurance administration will investigate to see if their determination that you were contributorily negligent is in error or not.
Hammer O'Justice, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3970
Experience: 9 years legal experience
Hammer O'Justice and 7 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks very much - this has been extremely helpful!

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