Sewage Backup and Flooding

Liddle & Dubin, PC has successfully recovered millions of dollars on behalf of thousands of clients claiming damages as a result of a sewage backup or flooding event. Due to our experience in handling claims arising from a sewage backup, we are intimately familiar with the cause of most sewage backups and how to acquire the evidence necessary to prove that the backup was the fault of a governmental entity.

Why do sewage backups and basement flooding occur?

In most instances, the governmental entity charged with operating the local sewer system will claim that a sewage backup occurred as a result of an “Act of God” or extreme rain event. Based on this assertion, governmental entities almost universally refuse to voluntarily pay for the damages arising from a sewage backup incident.

Liddle & Dubin has been extremely successful in demonstrating that the sewage backup did not arise as a result of an unusual rain event but instead was caused by the negligence of the entity charged with operating the local sewer system.

Most sewer systems are separated in that the water generated by a rain event is captured by a separate storm drain. The sanitary sewage system — or the system that most often backs up into private property — is intended only to convey the water generated by ordinary household uses. In a separated system, there are no catch basins and rainwater is not intended to be present in these separated sanitary sewer systems.

The sewage backup occurs as a result of holes or cross connections that allow rainwater to enter the relatively small sanitary sewer system which causes pressure and surcharging and ultimately leads to a sewage backup.

Due to our unique experience in handling sewage backups, Liddle & Dubin has successfully represented clients in states throughout the Midwest. If you have a case involving a potential sewage backup or damages arising from flooding, please contact us for a free case review and to learn about your litigation options.

What should I do if I have a sewage backup?

  • TAKE PICTURES AND, IF POSSIBLE, VIDEO If possible, take pictures of water and sewage in your home and the residue left after it recedes. Also, take pictures of all damaged items, including when those items are placed at the curb.
  • NOTICE In many jurisdictions it is necessary to provide various governmental agencies with written Notice of the flooding within a defined period of time. As these Notice requirements vary depending upon jurisdiction, we urge you to contact our office as soon as possible after a flooding event and we will provide the required legal Notice. We will provide free of charge the Michigan Notice requirement.
  • DOCUMENT YOUR LOSSES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE Contact us to obtain a copy of our standardized Damage Claim Form. If you do not desire to utilize our Damage Claim Form at least try to make a written list of the ruined items while they are still fresh in your mind.

Health Concerns

  • Do not enter the wet area until you are sure there are no electrical issues or fire hazards. The presence of water can cause a risk of electrocution or fire. The risk is particularly high if the water level has flooded any electrical system (i.e. an outlet, furnace or appliance that is plugged in).
  • AVOID INFECTION Make sure that you avoid infection when handling items saturated by a sewage flood. This is true even if the water appears clear. Use gloves and do not expose any open cuts to the sewage. Also, be careful when using wet basement steps as our clients often report injuries due to slippery stairs. Use bleach as a disinfectant when cleaning. The sooner you dry and air out the flooded area, the less likely you are to have mold. Discard any contaminated food and porous items (i.e. pillows) that were saturated with sewage.

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