Can you hold a municipality responsible for damage to your home?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can you hold a municipality responsible for damage to your home?

My home was built over a 22′ storm drain. The drain is collapsing and there has been 3 sinkholes in my yard and another one is forming in our crawlspace. The last sinkhole was just outside my front door, which the town did a temporary repair of a 2′ section. There is damage to my foundation, flooring,

cabinetry, roof, walls and my driveway and sidewalk have sunk. The New Link Destination
wn has been aware of the collapsing tile for 5 years and have done nothing, except the temporary repair this past January. They are now working to re-route the tile but claim they are not liable for any of the damage to my home.

Asked on June 12, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

They may be liable because 1) the storm drain is evidently under their control and 2) they evidently know of the problem and have known for years (you write they have been aware of the collapsing tile for 5 years). When someone is aware of a condition under their control which is damaging or likely may damage another's property, their failure to take reasonable steps (i.e. more than "temporary" repairs) may be negligent and make them liable for the cost to repair any damage. Do not accept the town's claim that they are not liable at face value; consult with an attorney about possibly suing them.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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