In December 2018, a sewer line backup occurred into a 89 year-old woman’s basement in New Castle, Ind.
A man in New Castle, Ind., thought the city would foot the bill after a sewer line backup into his elderly mother’s basement, however, he instead received a denial letter from the city’s insurance company.
According to FOX59, Roger Prince found out the hard way that it can be difficult to get a city to pay for property damage.
The issues started when raw sewage backed up into Prince’s 89-year-old mother's basement in December 2018. According to FOX59, he called a plumber who tried to fix it, but quickly learned it was not a problem with the house.
"As soon as he [got] it out, it backed right back up in there. He said, 'It's coming out of that main line out there, it's got to be,'" Prince said to FOX59.
Prince said the city ended up sending someone to flush out the sewer line a block away from the house. According to FOX59, it fixed the back up, but left him with a $350 bill from the plumber and a mess to clean up.
"I had to do it. I couldn't hire anybody, I didn't have any more money left," Prince said to FOX59.
According to FOX59, Prince filed a tort claim with the city, but the insurance company denied it.
In a denial letter, the company said the blockage was on the city's side of the sewer line, but said the city had no responsibility to pay Prince or his mom back for the damage.
"The City had no prior knowledge of the blockage until you reported the issue," the letter said, according to FOX59. "The City routinely cleans the sewer lines as part of preventative maintenance which shows there is no lack of negligence...we are unable to pay any portion of this claim."
During a visit to city hall on Monday, a representative in the Mayor's Office said the city could not comment on Prince's case, according to FOX59.
The insurance company did suggest that Prince might be able to recoup his money from homeowners insurance, according to FOX59. Currently, Prince is still out the money and said he doesn't understand why he cannot get any help.