Fireworks are really dangerous. Not only can the explosions and fire destroy property, but people can be severely injured. In some states, and localities, certain fireworks require permits, and oftentimes those permits require insurance. Regardless, there really is nothing quite like safely firing off some giant fireworks into the night sky. Heck, even medium sized ones are fun. But, with great firepower comes potentially even greater legal liability.
If your property is damaged when a neighbor sets off fireworks, even if illuminating the night sky is legal in your state, you can still sue. If there are laws against using fireworks in residential areas, or your city or state, and a neighbor causes your property damages, they could potentially face criminal penalties as well.
First Try Insurance
If you are in the unfortunate position of having to talk to a neighbor that damaged your property due to an irresponsible firework display, you might want to start by requesting their homeowner’s insurance information so you may file a claim. Dealing with an insurance company may be frustrating, but it’ll be easier than dealing with an individual that might not want to pay anything at all.
If you believe the exchange might be hostile, you can try contacting your local police. Even in states where setting off fireworks is completely legal, the destruction of your property is sure to violate criminal law. The police may be able to assist you in obtaining information to help you file a claim against your neighbor’s homeowner’s insurance.
Also, while this might not be the best course of action, you may be able to file a claim with your own homeowner’s insurance. Often, policies will allow for claims to be made due to vandalism, or the negligent conduct of others.
Can I File a Lawsuit?
More likely than not, you can file a civil action against a neighbor that damages your home or property due to irresponsible fireworks usage. If your property is damaged, a strong negligence argument can be made. Even if you enjoyed the show, unless you helped to put it on, you’ll likely have a strong case. If the damages are not too extensive, a small claims action can be filed.
However, before suing a neighbor, one might want to think twice as neighbor disputes can get ugly, last a long time, and cost more in legal fees than a House Hunters budget.