Property owners, businesses and municipalities across New York State are experiencing flooding at an historic rate. The causes run the gambit from poorly maintained municipal stormwater systems to the flooding we have seen in 2017 and 2019 along Lake Ontario. Water is one of the most destructive forces of nature and once it starts coming in it can be very difficult to stop.
If your property is currently flooding, you should do the following:
Evacuate the property if water is intruding on the structure;
If the property is developed, contact the utility company to determine whether the power needs to be shut off;
Take pictures and video of the flooding at different stages, including the peak flood height (if safe);
Keep a timeline of events, e.g. how high the water was at what time, when the power was turned off, and when the water receded;
Keep a list of people you speak with and summaries of those conversations.
After the flood waters have receded, you should do the following:
Make an inventory of damaged personal property with pictures before disposing of it;
Contact a professional cleaning company to assess what can be salvaged;
Contact contractors, engineers, or other professionals to determine the cost of repair;
Submit an insurance claim (even if you do not believe you have coverage);
Compile receipts of items that needed to be replaced, including any hotels or meals while you were displaced;
Continue your timeline of events;
Keep copies of anything you sign;
Continue your list of people you speak with and summaries of those conversations;
Contact your local municipality, county or state as appropriate to find out what is being done to remedy the situation; and
Contact an attorney as soon as possible to determine whether you need to file a notice of claim with the potentially responsible actor.
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