Most people think of personal injury lawsuits as the result of work mishaps or automobile accidents, but there are times when you may be able to seek financial recompense from a neighbor in the event that you have experienced physical harm from a situation caused by your neighbor. Personal injury laws vary by state, but most require proof of negligence before the court will issue a financial judgement. You may also have to prove that the injury resulted in significant loss of income. In rare situations, you may be able to get a judgement for pain and suffering caused by the incident, but these cases are so complex that only a skilled personal injury lawyer who is current on all applicable laws in your particular jurisdiction can provide you with useful advice.
Following are three reasons to file a personal injury claim against your neighbor.
Their Dog Bites You
Dog bites are a common reason for personal injury lawsuits against neighbors. Individual states have specific dog bite laws designed to cover situations that result in litigation. A loose dog accessing your property and proceeding to attack you is the most cut-and-dried type of dog bite case, but your neighbor may also be found negligent if the animal is chained in their yard but can nonetheless access the sidewalk. However, things become more tricky if the attack happens on your neighbor's property, particularly if you are there without specific invitation or consent. The breed of dog involved may also come into play in some jurisdiction -- for instance, if the breed is known to be aggressive, the court may not grant it the "one bite rule" that may be in play in your specific municipality.
You Slip on the Slimy Fruit From Their Mulberry Tree
Certain types of trees are messier than others, and mulberry trees are among the messiest of them all. Their dark purple fruit stains everything in sight, including sidewalks, vehicles, grass -- pretty much anything it falls on turns blue-black. To complicate matters, many species of birds adore this delectable delight and flock to enjoy the fruit soon after it ripens -- and gorging on mulberries causes their excrement to become this same shade of blue-black instead of the usual white. Mulberry fruit also tends to become slimy quite quickly after it falls to the ground, and you may have grounds for filing a personal injury case against your neighbor in the event that you slip and fall on the slime produced by their tree. You may also be able to sue your neighbor if a heavy tree branch that is hanging over your property falls on you.
Your Neighbor's Pesticide Use is Making You Sick
If your neighbor is using pesticides on their yard and garden area and you become ill as a result, you may have grounds for filing a personal injury lawsuit. Pesticide use law is still evolving, however -- for decades, their use was simply accepted as a common aspect of maintaining an attractive outdoor living space. Because pesticide use has been found to be a contributory factor in many adverse health conditions, environmental laws are being enacted in many jurisdictions to provide protection for affected individuals. You may also be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the pesticide if you can prove that you become ill as a direct result of your neighbor's use of the pesticide in question.
Like most other personal injury cases, the defendant must be found negligent before the court will award you a judgement -- and this can be difficult because it can take years for symptoms to develop after the exposure.