Our West Palm Beach injury law firm recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of clients, whose house was damaged when water overflowed from their toilet, causing extensive damage to their house. The problem was discovered by a neighbor, who saw water flow out from under the front door and garage. The neighbor called the client’s cell phone, but by the time she arrived home and was able to turn off the main water line, hundreds of gallons of water had run through the house, damaging flooring, cabinets and drywall. Once the water line was turned off, the client plunged their toilet and the toilet worked as it should thereafter.
The client contacted their insurer, Avatar Property & Casualty Insurance Company, and immediately hired a water extraction company to help with the cleanup. Avatar sent an adjuster to the clients’ home, and thereafter denied coverage for the loss claiming that the water came from a backup of “sewers and drains,” and that damage caused by water backing up through sewers and drains was excluded from the policy.
A plumber hired by the client checked the toilet and believed that overflow was likely caused by a stuck float in the tank, which allowed the water to run constantly, along with a partially clogged line leading from the toilet to the sewer line. The plumber does not believe that there was a clog in the sewer line itself.
The homeowners filed an insurance dispute claim to cover the losses incurred. Fortunately for the clients, Florida courts have required that an insurer trying to exclude coverage based on the “sewers and drains” language in an insurance policy prove that the water backed up because of a problem off the insured property- within the sewer line itself- and not because of a problem in the toilet or in a line on the insured property.
The case is in its early stages. Check back later for more information on its progress.