What is my responsibility to the home owner if I damage the home?
Accidents are governed by tort law, which seeks to restore the person harmed to the former position he would be in without the injury. It is not designed to punish the person who caused the harm. A person may be found liable for a tort if there is proof that is is more likely than not that their negligence caused the harm. Negligence is a subjective determination based on the facts in each case, but generally requires finding that a person failed to use the care that a reasonable person would use in similar circumstances.
The negligence must be found to be the cause of the harm, but other contributing factors may lessen the tortfeasor's responsibility. The person harmed must take measures to prevent the resulting harm from growing worse. This is called the duty to mitigate damages. For example, if an accident causes a hole in a window, the homeowner must take measures to cover the hole to prevent further damage due to theft, water damage, etc. The measure of damages in the case of damage to a home are typically the costs to restore the home to the previous condition that existed before the damage.