Negligence by a utility company may cause extensive damage to your property. If so, the utility company may be held liable. Each state has laws regarding whether or not a utility company can be sued for damages, but most states require the utility to take responsibility and pay for damage caused.
In this article, we will help you understand what legal rights you have if your property is damaged by a utility company.
Types of Damage Caused by Utility Companies
The types of damage caused by utility companies are extensive. For example, a broken water main may cause erosion under your driveway that leads to its collapse. If a car is parked over the eroding spot, it can be heavily damaged.
If a tree-trimming crew isn’t careful, a large branch may fall on a vehicle or building and cause damage. All utility companies have a utility easement on private property. If you park a vehicle on the easement or build on it, then the utility will not be held liable in most cases.
A downed wire can cause a fire. If the wire damage was the result of a storm or other “act of god,” then the utility company will probably not be considered liable. However, if the downed wire was the result of poor maintenance or if it was allowed to remain on the ground too long, the utility might be found liable.
Your Rights When a Utility Company Causes Damage
Most utility companies quickly compensate their customers for damage caused by negligence or accidents. However, if you’re having trouble collecting, you’ve got two options.
The first option should be to contact the state agency that has oversight of public utilities. Contact the office and find out how to file a complaint. Follow through with your complaint and see how it is resolved. In most cases, the utility will agree to pay for damage it caused. Search your state’s .gov website for the agency responsible for public utilities.
If the problem is not resolved, you may have the right to take the utility to court. In most states that allow this, you will have to have a complaint with the state rejected before you can file suit.
Talking with a Litigation Attorney
If a utility company has damaged your property and you have not been compensated, even after going through the proper channels, you might want to speak with a litigation attorney. Find one with experience in utility company issues. Discuss your case with the a subrogation lawyer to determine whether or not a lawsuit is possible and if it is likely to be successful.
If you would like more information or have a utility company that you would like to pursue legal action on, please contact a subrogation lawyer like Stephen Barker Law today at (561) 910-4340 or +15619104340.