Real Estate Law
Have Real Estate Law Questions? Ask a Real Estate Lawyer.
Hello Jerilynn: What a tragic situation for you and your mother. You don't mention filing a claim with your mother's homeowner's insurance as opposed to relying on the city and private plumbing contractors. Why is that?
My real estate broker partner says that you are correct regarding the lack of coverage for sewer backups on the homeowners policy. We had the same thing happen to a small hotel when the town used a fire hose in the line to unplug a clog or something. It blew two feed of raw sewage into a one story motel and totaled it. Sewer lines have to be protected by a back flush valves. My question now is if that happened once, and the city was aware of it why did they flush it a second time without taking steps to protect your mother's property? Of course, I don't know what actually caused the backup to occur, and I suspect that all of the other homes, which are probably newer than hers have the backup valves. Your lawyer may be correct about the immunity of the city from liability, if it occurred in their performance of a governmental function. But they can be liable if negligence can be shown, and most of the time they carry insurance for that purpose. That is a tough question which requires a lot of legal research by your attorney. In our case, which occurred in another state we could not find a local attorney to take it on a contingency fee basis against the city and a sewer contractor who had something to do with maintaining the drain. I wish you the best of luck in getting this mess, literally resolved in the best manner you can. I hope that you will enter a positive rating for this effort on my part. Thanks for using JUST ANSWER.