What can I do if the city sewer has backed up in our basement for the second time in 3 years?

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What can I do if the city sewer has backed up in our basement for the second time in 3 years?

It has not fixed the problem properly and sewage was 4 inches deep. My furnace and everything is down there. It has been 8 days and they have been slow to react to say the least. They are supposed to clean today but my wife, another member and I have been feeling sick. Do I have grounds to get compensated?

Asked on February 13, 2014 under Personal Injury, West Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You may have grounds to seek compensation, such as for clean-up and repair costs; it will be more difficult to seek compensation for feeling sick unless you suffer something substantially more serious than discomfort and have some medical evidence or diagnosis to tie that injury to the sewage. What works in your favor are: 1) that this was the second back-up, which presumably put them on notice that there was some real problem which required a real repair (generally speaking, people, businesses, and cities are only liable if they knew or should have known there was a problem and yet, knowing of it, did not take reasonable precautions); and 2) their slowness in reacting this time. Be aware, however, that there are generally short time periods and strict paperwork ("notice") requirements when suing a municipality; if you want to pursue the possibility of a lawsuit, speak with an attorney right away, before more time passes.


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