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Can I Sue my Neighbor for Harassment?


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Harassment is the continuous, unwanted and bothersome actions from a person which can include being threatened. Harassment includes causing a person alarm or distress, by conduct of the accused person. Harassment can be in the form stalking, neighbor nuisance, workplace conduct and campaigns of harassment carried out by pressure groups such as animal rights protestors. Harassment is a crime and a person can be arrested and charged for severe forms of harassment. Many Americans face the problem of a neighbor harassing them and outside of their home becomes a battle ground. Neighbor harassment which is both offensive and intentional acts directed towards you by your neighbor. The behavior can range from derogatory language to more extreme cases of battery or assault. It may be easily ignored by others while some people need a remedy for their neighbor’s outrageous actions. Moving from your neighborhood is not your only option but you can also seek a legal remedy to control the actions of your neighbor.

Seeking legal actions against your neighbor is probably not the best remedy since you have to co-exist with the particular person every day. If all the pleasant methods that you have tried to deal with the harassment fails then suing your neighbor is the best option for you. A neighbor can harass you because of your age, sex, sexual orientation, religion or even just because they are being malicious. A neighbor can even harass you in the form of defamation by spreading defamatory words about which may ruin your reputation. If this happens you can sue your neighbor for defamation of character provided that the words are not true. Defamation of character is the act of making false statements about a person which blemishes or tarnishes his/her reputation. Defamation of character can either be caused by words printed or by a broadcast of untrue statements by the media which is known as libel or it can be words orally spoken which is known as slander. You can be awarded damages for type of tortious act against you. You can also demand your neighbor to issue a public apology for their actions and issue a cease and desist letter if you do not wish to pursue legal actions.

It is also important to have proof of the harassment which you are purporting. It is good if a person has police report to show that the neighbour used physical force, threatening language which may have resulted in you being fearful. This shows the court of the neighbors’s pattern of harassing behavior. It is useful to have the following:

  • witnesses either independent witnesses who may be members of your neighborhood or any members of your household can testify about the actions of your neighbor
  • Videos and other recording as evidence so that the court can see the actions of the neighbor from their perspective without receiving filtered evidence.
  • A document of the timeline of the harassing acts.

If a person have all these proof against his/her neighbor there is no doubt that the case will be awarded in their favor. The court can award damages for anxiety caused by the continuous harassment. You can also ask the court for an injunction or it is most commonly known as a restraining order which prohibits your neighbor from harassing you in the future. The granting of a restraining has special conditions attached if it is breached by your neighbor. Where the restraining order is breached, you should inform the police and a warrant can be issued if there is probable cause that there was in fact a breach. When informing the police you should explain all the circumstances surrounding the breach.

The law takes harassment issues very seriously. Therefore, you will be protected and supported under the law although the level will vary depending upon the severity of the harassment which has taken place. There are various options that will be available to you if you choose to litigate the matter. Depending on the nature of the harassment, you can be awarded damages and apply for a restraining order against your neighbor.

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