A home builder clear cut (trees, brush, removed dirt) about 32 feet into our 55 wide lot that is for sale. We have filed in small claims court. We know the value of the lot before he removed the trees. My question is: how do I determine the value of the land now that he has irreparably damaged it?? I thought about asking a tree guy the value of the trees removed but that really doesn't answer the value question....I need to be able to provide a coherent answer for the judge. I do have before and after pics. (For context, the trees are what is most valuable about this property; out here in the "Piney Woods", anyone that wanted to build on it would value those trees to keep their privacy. We also own the 2 lots next to it and folks like to build right in the middle so you can't see their house.)
Or, maybe I'm thinking of this all wrong, and the fact that the property is for sale doesn't matter. How would you calculate damages if someone clear cut into your property?? Any and all advice is sincerely appreciated!!
The damages are based upon the value before minus the value after. Sell the lot at market and your loss is realized. The lawsuit is premature unless you have appraisal/comps.
The dirt can be put back and you should be able to get the value of the trees harvested. See what you sell it for then figure your damages.