Cast Iron Pipe Damage Lawyers

September 20, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Homes built before the 1970s often have plumbing systems made of cast iron. While these plumbing systems were great options in the past, they have not held up over time. Many of these plumbing systems fail, causing severe damage to people's homes across the country.

It's common for insurance companies to deny claims involving cast iron plumbing systems. They often state the reason for denial is because the damage occurred due to normal wear and tear—not because of the system breaking. If your insurance provider denied your claim after your house sustained cast iron pipe damage, a cast iron pipe damage attorney can help. A cast iron pipe damage lawyer with Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can fight for the compensation you need and deserve.

About Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

Matt Dolman knew he wanted to be an injury attorney from a young age. When he was 14, his dad sustained severe injuries in a car accident and had to stay in the hospital. His father hired a lawyer that he found advertised in the newspaper. As a young boy, he could see the attorney's lack of confidence during the first meeting. The attorney ended up getting a lot of money through the case without barely helping his father.

This experience gave him the will to want to be a lawyer—one who helps and supports clients going through a difficult time, not just collects a paycheck. As he worked as an attorney, he gained valuable knowledge about how insurance companies lowball their policyholders and avoid giving them the compensation they need.

He then decided to help clients stand up for themselves against the insurance giants. Our firm aggressively advocates for our clients so they get the financial compensation they need to repair their home. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we want to be the firm you choose whenever you or your loved one needs legal help.

Our Client Testimonials Prove We Can Support You Every Step of the Way

A big part of our business is providing the support our clients need to get through a difficult time. We want you to feel comfortable contacting us with any issues you are facing regarding the damage to your home.

Clients we have helped in the past have great things to say about us

Do I Need an Attorney When Filing a Cast Iron Pipe Damage Claim?

Yes. The insurance company's goal is to pay the least amount possible for the damage to your home. Even though you pay them every month, they are not always looking out for your best interests. For this reason, we recommend having legal counsel by your side throughout the entire process to ensure the insurance company understands the extent of the damage.

We Can Help With Every Step of Your Case

There are many ways that an attorney with our firm can help if your home sustained damage because of cast iron pipes, including:

  • Determining the costs of the damages. We can hire experts to determine how much it will cost to repair the damage to your home and then present these amounts as evidence to the insurance company.
  • Negotiating with the insurance company. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators who know how to approach insurance companies. We can push your insurance company to extend the compensation they offer.
  • Reviewing your insurance policy. We can review the terms of your insurance policy to determine if you have the coverage needed to get the funds to repair your home.
  • Filing a lawsuit. If the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement agreement, we can file a cast iron pipe damage claim on your behalf. Typically, insurance companies do not want to pay lawyer's fees or take the time to fight a case in court. Filing a lawsuit may give them the motivation to present a more acceptable offer.

Our firm has handled similar cases for a long time and understands the tactics that insurance companies use to get people to accept a claim denial or a lower amount than they deserve. However, with experienced legal representation by your side, the insurance company may be more likely to offer you a settlement that covers the full cost of the damage to your home.

The Problem With Cast Iron Plumbing Systems

Today's homes usually have plumbing systems made of PVC pipes. However, before the 1970s, many homes used cast iron plumbing systems. While these systems should last 80 to 100 years, they often break down before reaching that age. Every day, people across the United States must deal with damage to their homes because their cast iron plumbing system failed.

People with cast iron plumbing systems have a higher risk of costly damage to their homes. In some cases, these plumbing systems can cause health issues and also depreciate the value of the home.

Causes of Cast Iron Plumbing System Failures

The construction industry stopped using cast iron piping several decades ago because of the common system failures that have occurred. While newer homes no longer have these systems, there are many older homes that do. Pipes carrying water are far less likely to suffer from damage than pipes carrying waste—mainly because waste creates a chemical called sulfuric acid that damages the pipes.

Waste can cause cast iron plumbing systems to fail from:

  • Corrosion: When sulfuric acid develops in the piping system, it can begin to corrode its interior. Corrosion of the interior of a pipe will eventually continue throughout the pipe, causing a hole that makes the entire system fail.
  • Rust: Another culprit of cast iron plumbing failure is rust. Interior rust is what causes corrosion to occur. If you notice any exterior rust on your pipes, it's essential to investigate it further and make sure there isn't a larger issue happening.

Cast iron plumbing systems fail more frequently in Florida than in other states because there is more salt in the water. Salt can increase the likelihood of the piping system becoming corroded or rusted.

The Dangers of Cast Iron Plumbing

When cast iron plumbing systems begin to deteriorate, they can endanger both your home and your health. While it's safe to drink water from cast iron piping systems that are fully functioning, any type of corrosion is unsafe. Sediments can get into the drinking water when the system begins to corrode, which may be harmful if ingested regularly.

While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that it is safe to drink water that contains iron, some of the sediments in corroded iron could have harmful bacteria in them. This can cause a myriad of problems for someone who consumes it regularly.

Not only does cast iron plumbing run the risk of causing health problems, but there are problems that could occur in the home as well.

These include:

  • Higher potential for toilet and sink backups throughout the home
  • Higher likelihood of pipes bursting, causing extensive damage throughout the home

How to Know When to Replace Your Cast Iron Pipes

Fortunately, there are signs you can look out for that indicate when it's time to get a new cast iron plumbing system. If you have cast iron pipes, be sure to watch for these signs so you can avoid costly damage to your home.

Some common signs that a cast iron plumbing system is going bad include:

  • The water starts to look discolored. If the water coming out of the tap is discolored, it's likely that the plumbing system has already begun to deteriorate. The color of the water might look brownish or yellowish, depending on the severity of the corrosion. Discolored water is usually caused by rust or corrosion in the pipes.
  • The pipes leak. If you start to notice wet spots on the ceiling, there may be a leak in the piping. Sulfuric acid running through the pipes will likely cause them to begin rusting on the inside. Over time, the rust will make its way to the outside of the pipe, resulting in a crack. Water can get through these cracks and cause major damage to the home.
  • The toilets back up. If your toilets continuously back up without any obvious cause, you most likely have a problem somewhere in your pipes. If you have cast iron plumbing and your toilets continue to back up, it's a good idea to have a plumber come and check out the issue.
  • The sinks drain slowly. While it's common for sinks to drain slowly if they are clogged with hair or other materials, cast iron piping issues can also cause clogs. If your sinks are draining slowly and you believe you have cleaned them appropriately, ask a plumber to investigate. They can rule out if the plumbing system has begun to deteriorate.
  • There is an odor in the house. When pipes start cracking, the sewer lines will release gas. The smell is usually very foul and strong and can quickly take over the whole house. If you begin to smell this odor, it's essential to resolve the issue quickly. The gas emitted from the pipes is not healthy to breathe in.
  • More pests invade your home. If your pipes are cracked, pests such as rodents, mice, or bugs have an easier access point to enter your home.
  • The floor tiles break or pop up. If the tiles on your floor look tampered with, broken pipes may be the cause. Have a plumber inspect the damage to confirm if the issue is related to your plumbing system or not.
  • The water pressure decreases. If your water pressure suddenly becomes lower, this usually indicates a problem with the piping system. Lower water pressure occurs because damage in the pipes restricts water from flowing through at the usual speed or level.
  • Water distributes unevenly. If one part of your house has higher water pressure but others are fine, you could still have issues with your plumbing system. Sometimes, certain areas in your home are affected by piping issues while others aren't.

While there are many more signs you might need to replace your cast iron pipes, these are some of the most common indicators. When in doubt, it's best to act proactively if you believe your cast iron plumbing system is failing. Doing so can help you avoid disaster—and a huge mess—if a pipe bursts completely.

The History of Cast Iron Plumbing Systems

In any home or business, systems move water and waste from one area of the home to another. These systems are made of pipes that transfer both materials. Before the 1970s, cast iron plumbing systems were the top-rated systems for plumbing. They were strong, durable, and could handle an immense amount of pressure.

While expensive and labor-intensive to make, cast iron plumbing systems were the best option at the time. Around 1975, PVC pipe entered the scene and quickly became a cheaper and more durable option. Many builders began using PVC plumbing systems, which still continues today.

Over time, people with cast iron pipe plumbing systems began experiencing system failure and damage in their homes. In many cases, tree roots have punctured the pipes. Corrosion and rust can also cause pipes to burst. When pipes burst, they usually result in extensive damage to homes and businesses.

Benefits of Modern Pipes for Your Plumbing System

The PVC pipes used in plumbing systems today are not only cheaper but also far superior to the cast iron piping systems used back in the 1970s.

Benefits of modern pipes include:

  • Durability: PVC material is far more durable than cast iron pipes. The surface of PVC pipes does not rust or corrode, giving them a much longer lifespan. PVC pipes are also less likely to allow dangerous chemicals or bacteria to get into the water.
  • Less maintenance: Because of their durability, PVC pipes require less maintenance. They are also less likely to get clogged, which means you do not have to hire a plumber to fix them as often.
  • Less expensive: PVC pipes are made of far less expensive material than cast iron. Even shipping them from place to place is more cost-effective because the materials are lighter.

If you need to repair your current piping system, repair it with new PVC pipes. This way, you can ensure it will last longer.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Can Support You Throughout Your Damage Claim

One of the best parts about working with Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is the support you will receive. Our cast iron pipe damage lawyers can stand by your side every step of the way, so you never feel alone. Having strong legal representation can give you the confidence you need to reach a successful outcome in your case.

We Offer Many Benefits That Other Law Firms Don't

The attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA work tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive the maximum amount of compensation possible. We also offer a lot of benefits that you won't find at other law firms in the area. Our attorneys understand that you're in the midst of a stressful time, and we want to alleviate that stress as much as we can. That's why we offer free consultations and contingency fees.

During your free consultation, you will have the opportunity to meet with a member of our team and discuss what happened. We can review the damage to your home, your estimated repair costs, and what the insurance company has offered. Our attorneys can also take a closer look at the fine print of your insurance policy. Because we work on contingency, you do not have to pay for our legal services unless we reach a successful outcome with your case.

Between the free consultation and contingency fee, there is no financial risk to meeting or working with our firm.

Other benefits of working with a cast iron pipe damage lawyer from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA include:

  • You receive your attorney's personal cell phone number. Communication is key during damage claims involving your home, and we want you to get a hold of your attorney when you need to. Your attorney is only a phone call away if you have a question or need a status update.
  • We can handle all communications with the insurance company. We understand that life still has to go on after your home sustains damage. Our attorneys can handle talking to the insurance company, so you don't have to. Leaving this in our hands also helps you avoid accidentally saying something to them that could hurt your chances of receiving compensation.
  • Our attorneys aren't afraid to go to court. We have a reputation for fighting for clients in court if the insurance company doesn't offer a fair settlement. Having this reputation often helps us during negotiations. In many cases, the insurance company will agree to a more favorable settlement to avoid the time and expense of going to trial.

There are many other benefits to working with our firm when your insurance company refuses to pay for property damage in your home. When you begin working with us, we'll do everything in our power to help you receive the money you need.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cast Iron Pipe Damage

Damage to cast iron pipes is more common in Florida because of the saltwater running through the pipes. Therefore, our attorneys have experienced many cases like these. Through the years, we have had a plethora of frequently asked questions. Here are answers for some of the most common ones.

Should I Replace My Cast Iron Pipes?

If the plumbing system in your house is made out of cast iron pipes, you don't necessarily need to replace the whole system just yet. Instead, you could have a plumber come and assess the condition of your pipes to ensure there is no damage. We recommend having a plumber check every few years to confirm the pipes are in good working condition.

If you need to repair your pipes, you should complete the repair with new PVC pipe. This way, if you need a full plumbing replacement in the future, some of your piping will still function appropriately.

Signs that you should replace your cast iron pipes include water discoloration, leaks, an odor coming from the pipes, sagging ceilings, or puddles of waste in your yard. These are all indicators that the cast iron pipes in your home or business might be damaged.

Why Do Cast Iron Damage Claims Get Denied?

Cast iron damage claims get denied for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, insurance companies will do anything they can to avoid paying for the damage. Even if they agree to pay for some, they commonly offer lower amounts than what it would cost to repair the damage completely.

Common reasons why your insurance company might either deny or not pay you enough for your claim include:

  • The damage is due to ordinary wear and tear on the piping system.
  • The homeowner or business owner failed to maintain the plumbing system properly.
  • The damage did not occur because of an accident and was not a sudden occurrence.
  • If you had a leak that lasted for an extended period of time, you could have fixed it before it caused more severe damage to the home.
  • If the damage you sustained was because of flooding, they will not pay because you do not have the appropriate flood protection.
  • You don't have coverage for any issues that occur with the plumbing system.

An attorney can help convince the insurance company that none of the above are the case. We do so by presenting a case that shows why you need to receive compensation for your losses.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim After a Leak or Pipe Burst?

That will vary according to where you live. In Florida, you generally have four years from the incident to file a lawsuit against the insurance company. While this may sound like a long time, many insurance companies drag their feet on providing a denial or low offer. This is because they want to give you the least amount of time possible to file a lawsuit if you disagree with their decision.

There are some exceptions to the timeline, but most of them don't affect this type of lawsuit. They generally impact people who are suing an actual person, not an entity.

What Steps Should I Take After a Cast Iron Pipe Damages My Home?

After your home sustains damage because of a cast iron pipe, there are essential steps you need to take.

These steps include:

  1. Contact a plumber: A plumber can help determine the extent of the damage and if there is actual property loss. They might recommend fixing a small portion of the piping or suggest that you overhaul your entire plumbing system. Either way, a plumber can verify the damage level and make any necessary fixes to prevent further damage.
  2. Contact the insurance company: If you have property loss associated with cast iron pipes, contact your insurance company. They can send someone out to assess the damage and determine how much your claim is worth (according to them).
  3. Contact a cast iron pipe damage lawyer: Working with an attorney throughout this process helps ensure that you know how much your claim is truly worth. Our attorneys can assess the damage and work to make sure the insurance company offers you a fair settlement. If not, we can negotiate with them for a higher amount. If the insurance company still doesn't offer enough, we can fight for you in court.

Following these steps can increase the likelihood of the insurance company offering you the money you need to fix the damage to your home.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Cast Iron Plumbing System?

If you need to replace your cast iron plumbing system, prepare to pay a lot of money. The cost of replacing an entire plumbing system varies but is typically related to the size of your home. In smaller homes, it might cost about $20,000 to replace the whole system. In larger homes, it could cost more than $100,000.

This is a substantial amount of money for almost anyone. That's why you need the right attorney by your side, fighting for the compensation you need and deserve.

What Should I Do If My Insurance Company Denies My Claim?

Even though people pay a lot of money to protect their homes when damage occurs, insurance companies still deny claims often. For starters, double-check your policy and ensure this type of coverage is included. If you don't understand what the policy says, contact an attorney for further guidance.

An attorney from our firm can review your policy and represent you throughout the claims process. We can also negotiate with the insurance company and provide evidence as to why they should compensate you for the damage to your home.

Can I Still Live At Home if My Cast Iron Pipe Is Leaking or Burst?

If your cast iron pipe leaks or bursts, you can remain in your house in some cases but not in others. Contacting a plumber or local expert can give you a definitive answer. Sometimes, leaks in cast iron piping systems can excrete a toxic gas that is harmful to humans. If this gas is present, you cannot stay in your home until the repairs are complete.

In other cases, the leak might be in a pipe that moves water, so you can most likely stay in your home. You should avoid all areas with direct contact to the pipe in case it bursts or continues to get damaged. You should also fix any leaks immediately to avoid further damage.

Contact a Cast Iron Pipe Damage Lawyer Today

Matthew A Dolman Esq
Cast Iron Pipe Damage Attorney, Matt Dolman

Cast iron pipes can cause substantial damage to a home or business if they burst or have large leaks. Don't let the insurance companies take advantage of you by making a low offer or denying your claim. An attorney with Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can fight for you to get the compensation you need to fix the damage the cast iron pipes caused and move forward with your life.

Our team has handled many cast iron pipe damage cases with positive results. To learn more, schedule a free consultation. We make it easy to get answers to your questions, explore your legal options, and figure out your next steps. Ready to get started? Contact us today at 833-552-7274 if your home sustained damage because of a cast iron pipe plumbing system.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA - Clearwater Office
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756

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Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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