Plumber broke pipe with snake

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by Bob from accounting, Jul 21, 2020.

  1. Bob from accounting

    Bob from accounting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2020
    Location:
    California
    Neighbors had a plumber come by to snake the shower. One of the old pipes broke and leaked over and through the walls causing thousands of dollars of damage. He blames it on old bad pipes, regardless, I am curious if someone can explain how a snake can burst open 2" steel pipes? I have considered buying my own snake to work simple blocks but now I am hesitant. If I need to snake my drain what to be aware of to avoid this happening to me?
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    IL
    Rusty steel.
     
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  4. fitter30

    fitter30 Active Member

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    Feb 2, 2020
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    Retired service tech
    Location:
    Peace valley missouri
    Paper thin pipe from years use and caustic cleaners.
     
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  5. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Copper drain lines are becoming paper thin and wearing out in our area... getting pin holes in them
    the same thing will happen with galvanized pipe too....

    Also Consider that most of these
    drain lines were probably installed before 1966 and galvanized pipe probably much way further back
    and they just begin to corrode over time....

    and that is why you have homeowners insurance
     
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  6. Bob from accounting

    Bob from accounting Member

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    Not one insurance company physically assessed the damage. From afar, all insurance companies denied the claim.
    The individual under received all the damages and has to pay of 20k in damages.
     
  7. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Most peoples homeowners insurance will deal with issues like this....
    Unless the dufus that did the drain cleaning out was not insured .... then it falls
    back on their homeowners policy to pay for the damages

    Normally
    the persons homeowners insurance goes after the drain guys insurance and
    eventually someone pays for the damages the water did.... but not for the plumbing repairs

    just like when a water heater floods the hell out of someones home.. the insurance pays to clean
    up the mess it made but not the new water heater..
    ..
    we have been down this road before ...... if what you are saying is 100% true and reliable and not
    just gossip you heard, then the guy needs
    to hire a lawyer and force his homeowners insurance to cough up the money .......


    .
     
  8. HudsonDIY

    HudsonDIY Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Location:
    Hudson, Florida USA
    I'm dealing with something similar right now. We bought a new dishwasher and the installer didn't tighten the incoming water supply line properly and destroyed my hardwood floors. Yes, the company I purchased the WH from and the installer initially did not want to assume liability. This is a case where you just don't take no for an answer. The mere threat of lawyering up was all that was needed to get things moving. The installer's insurance ponied up and has fully covered the replacement cost. Did I have to get angry? Absolutely! But I had documented proof the job was botched by the installer so when all was said and done they had no case to deny the claim.

    Obviously I'm all about DIY and could have easily done the install myself but in some cases it best to pony up and pay the few bucks to have someone else assume the liability. Had I installed the DW myself and screwed it up as badly as the installer I'd be eating $10k worth of flooring. Not to mention that unless you are a licensed installer you will likely void the manufacturer's warranty.
     
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  9. Bob from accounting

    Bob from accounting Member

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    California
    Oh no, I am the one in the house helping this young couple out. This is not a guy told me, this is from the horses mouth. This poor couple received all the damaged one night from the neighbors, every insurance company denied the claim, they are out 20k. They are being told to spend more money on lawyers to help. They are now out of money. It is really sad to see this. Pay your premium, and get no help. Really makes me question insurance. You have to sue for them to say, OK, yeah here you go, you are covered. Yikes, we are all a bit shaken up by this. Farmers and AAA insurance just raked this poor couple. So they are trying to save up for lawyers now.
     
  10. houptee

    houptee Member

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    Occupation:
    HVAC and Home Improvement Contractor
    Location:
    Monmouth County, NJ
    You should research what the insurance companies and the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program run by FEMA) did to policyholders after Katrina and Sandy. They only pay for "actual physical damage loss caused by floodwater contact". So for example if house got wet 2 feet of water inside and covered with muck they only pay to clean the muck off and dry out the house then replace the insulation and drywall. If you find the foundation cracked, studs or joists rotten or old termite damage or sagging they deny coverage for that and say that was pre-existing not caused by flood water contact. They only pay for lower cabinets in kitchens so you end up with mismatched uppers unless you pay yourself for all new cabinets. And if A/C system outdoor unit went underwater they only pay for the outside unit even if tho you have to put in a new indoor coil to match the outdoor unit they wont pay anything for indoor section because it did not contact flood water.
    So first thing you need to look at in every insurance contract is a section called "EXCLUSIONS".
     
  11. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    Retired
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    Orlando, Florida
    A broken pipe and flood waters are completely two different things. FEMA has nothing to do with this.

    It was the shower drain line that leaked and not a water pipe? I can hardly blame the person who did the work. Unless he used a camera it be hard to tell if a pipe had corroded through. However, at least some of the damage should be covered by the homeowners insurance. But if they know a plumber was involved then all bets could be off because they'll blame the plumber. Not much different than of the roof leaked and caused damage. The damage would be covered but not a new roof unless it was caused by a storm. You need to look at the policy exclusions. The homes needs to be kept in decent shape and not deteriorate until things wear out and cause damage. If it is then the policy may be void.
     
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  12. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    I have no idea why someone did not hire an expert plumbing witness to meet the adjuster on site

    I met Chubb and Allstate and State Farm and after we had a sit down they approved the claim

    What is normally negotiated is the insurance company does NOT pay for the replacement of the piping BUT they do pay for opening and closing the walls / floors and restorations and clean up

    I handled a case in Colorado by just looking at a video giving my report of what I saw and the insurance company paid the claim.

     
  13. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    Actually I had two cases that caused lots of damage from someone snaking a drain line

    The first case I took pictures and proved the licensed plumbers employee was not responsible as the tub waste was copper tubing and the snake punctured a hole in it and the plumbers insurance company was off the hook

    The second case involved a non licensed handyman who was snaking a standing waste ( barrel waste) and bore a hole though a lead trap

    This case I testified against the handyman stating that I have many mansions build in 1920's in my area and the majority have lead waste and galvanized lines connecting to cast iron and I never punctured a lead trap

    What the handyman did was reverse the snake in the drum rather then using the cork screw head and the cable penetrated the trap as it was 1/4 with little flexibility

    For these drain I either use a Ram jet or a really flexible snake that I bought several of the cheap Rigid electric snakes for under $60. on E bay

    They dont last long but considering I do charge over $250 per stoppage and they do pay for themselves on the first job and the rest is gravy

    Having been a expert witness and testifying in courts over 100 times I learned that giving "my expert opinion" is based on years of experience and there is no justice in the justice system

    I could have quite easily made a case for the handyman as it is just an "opinion" that I give and opinions are like Belly buttons everyone has one

    For the past 30 years before I take on a case I ask "which side are we on" and testify accordingly

    It the American justice system it is win or lose and the facts have very little to do with the out come of a trial

    If the jury can identify with my testimony we win which happens over 99% of the time
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2020
  14. houptee

    houptee Member

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    HVAC and Home Improvement Contractor
    Location:
    Monmouth County, NJ
    The insurance industry runs the FEMA flood insurance program through a "sweetheart deal" and adjusts the claims for a fee charged to the federal govt aka the taxpayers aka you and me.
    The insurance industry profited 400 million after Sandy.
     
  15. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    My FEMA statement was referring to a flood policy. Insurance companies do manage the flood claims and a broken pipe is not covered by a flood policy. The policy is defined by FEMA. I just received my flood policy renewal bill for $516 from Wright National Flood Insurance Company.
     
  16. houptee

    houptee Member

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    HVAC and Home Improvement Contractor
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    Monmouth County, NJ
    My point is the insurance industry controls all insurance in the country inclusive of flood insurance. They use a software called Xactimate that spits out the amount of the claims. Xactimate was created by the insurance companies and they input the prices by region. The problem is the actual costs are much higher for the work but they refuse to pay the contractors invoice and say that Xactimate says it should cost X. The pricing they use has almost no overhead and profit for a contractor so nobody will do the work for the Xactimate pricing. So the claim is low-balled and then you have a deductible subtracted and you have a huge out of pocket costs for any type of claim not just flood.
    The insurance industry lobbies state governments to pass laws to prevent a contractor negotiating with the insurance company on behalf of the homeowner. They say the contractor (roofer, plumber, carpenter etc) is not a licensed private insurance adjuster so it should be illegal for them to speak to insurance companies about prices.
    Watch this video of a lawyer who explains how they are manipulating state govts to pass these laws.
     
  17. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    I never had a problem negotiating with an insurance adjuster and always had a positive outcome

    First off you have to have documented proof of your qualifications

    Second when disagreeing with the adjusters offer for how much should be allocated for the repairs rather then having a confrontation I just start asking the following questions

    We know there was a broken pipe that caused several thousands of dollars so when your giving a dollar amount on how much it will cost to make it right did you consider the possibility of asbestos being exposed or the possibility of mold .

    These two words asbestos and mold insurance companies frown upon a claim involving either of these so they normally want to settle and close the walls .floors etc as soon as possible

    Once the adjuster hears about an air quality testing before employees open the walls to replace the broken lines they seem to have a little more leeway in how much they are willing to make things right

    Educating them on the true cost of operating a business especially having the same insurance company really helps

    We did a stoppage in a 8" house sewer and because of the flood related to the stoppage I had to deal with the management company and an insurance company

    My bills was over $3,700 for 3 hours work and when questioned why it was so high I said this bill was actually discounted

    Then explained about exposure to raw sewerage, hazmat clean up, respirators and disinfection of the area as per OSHA and having employees tested for hepatitis A,B,C,D and E the managing agent said I would be paid with in 30 days

    I told the insurance adjuster he needs to find a clean up crew for the water damages as we are only concerned about the area we actually worked in
    Adjusters normally are great to work with and as long as the conversations are professional and your not price gouging they will work with you

    The problem is a home improvement contractors with bare minimum skills take a 20 question test
    New York City $100 for a two-year license expiring 12/31 in even years/$100 renewal fee

    These home improvement contractors take on work they are not supposed to go near such as gap piping , electrical and their prices are really low

    Because many do not know the true cost of running a legitimate company they base their contracts on a what they would make a day working for someone else

    I was doing plumbing on 73 street in Manhattan and a home improvement contractor was charging for labor for his son and him $800 a day for both of them installing granite counter tops and other cabinets with a 15% mark up on materials

    A nice guy but had no clue to pricing a job. I suggested he get "means" pricing books .

    Guys like him are why adjusters think we should work as if we can survive with a "days pay"

    There is no such thing as the "going rate" as each company knows or should know the turn key cost of doing business and what type of life style they want for their family and employees and charge accordingly
     
  18. houptee

    houptee Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    HVAC and Home Improvement Contractor
    Location:
    Monmouth County, NJ
    The insurance companies are pushing for states to forbid anyone to negotiate with insurance claims unless they are a licensed private insurance adjuster in the state where the claim is, or an attorney in that state.
    You mentioned you testified in court cases as an expert witness. So that means the policyholder had to foot the bill for an attorney and your fee as the expert witness to try and recover their costs for the claim that was originally underpaid otherwise you would not have been in court at all.
    So the end result if they recovered additional money from the insurance company was they still were shorted because now deduct the legal fees, court fees, time away from work dealing with the litigation of the case, etc etc.
    Watch the video I posted of the two lawyers, one man grey hair represents insurance companies, the other lawyer in the bow tie represents policyholders.
    They are at a seminar for roofing industry contractors but the tactics are still the same with all claims.
    Other videos by that same group talk about how insurance companies refuse to pay for starter shingles and ridge cap shingles which are required to do the roof correctly. They flat out deny the costs and will not speak to the roofer about it only the homeowner or a private adjuster or lawyer.
    Private adjusters charge a fee of 10-20% of the total claim amount so the policyholder is short that amount for the work and even more if a lawyer is involved.
    The game is rigged.
     
  19. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    Of course the game is rigged as Lawyers have great lobbyists working for them

    When I am called as an expert I ask which side am I on and testify accordingly

    There is no justice in the legal system.

    It is win or lose and giving an "expert opinion" is like a belly button everyone has one and I cannot be held accountable for giving my opinion

    What should happen is If a lawyer sues for $100,000 and loses the case then they should pay for what they sued for

    This will stop the frivolous law suits BUT the lawyers have lobbyists that make sure the "best polititions money can buy" remain in office with no accountability

    My grandfather , my uncle and my father were all roofing contractors and I worked as a roofer before getting my master plumbers license

    I decided to take a civil service exam for plumbing and received a 98% on my test and on the roofing test I passed with a 96% as it is always great to have a back up plain

    Besides being a plumbing inspector and boiler inspector and I was also a roofing inspector for the postal service which happened to be my biggest account

    Knowing roof cement and flashing cement used to have asbestos in their composition whenever a law suit was roof related and I was called to testify I would play the "Asbestos card" meaning tents had to be set up with negative air so the fibers could not infiltrate the ambient air (outside)

    Once I dropped the carcinogen word the adjusters all of a sudden did not want to be held accountable if some one would start removing the roof membrane without personal protection as required by NIOSH and OSHA without proper protection to make sure the fibers did not become air borne

    Adjusters are bullies in some cases and once you call their bluff with facts they seem to come around and they realize their low ball numbers are not going to be even considered

    Industry guide lines trumps their get in and get out as cheap as possible with total disregard to safety requirements

    If the adjuster makes a realistic offer then we can give them some leeway in what we do and still maintain safety for the occupants and workers

    Their offer is NOT carved in stone but you have to have documentation of your training to call their bluff

    I had a hell of a lawsuit with Scottsdale insurance and managed to get 2 years of payments refunded PLUS they defend the action against my company

    Needless to say I did get another carrier

    It was in federal court and state court and took months
     
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