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PIPE FREEZE SEASON! Subrogation Targets, Tips & Checklist

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Once again, forecasts in the Midwest are calling for plunging temperatures that frequently result in pipe freeze claims.

Located in frigid Ohio, RMI has years of subrogation experience on freeze failures and helping insurers recover on losses occurring during what our firm refers to as “pipe freeze season.”

Our property division includes counsel who have years of experience in freeze failures, one with an engineering degree and concentration in fluid dynamics.  A support staff member also is an engineering graduate.

The last 2021 and 2022 winter seasons saw RMI recover $1,260,000.00 on freeze claims, and we are again prepared to help insurers weather the predicted storms.  Freeze failures involve complex issues. RMI has a proven track record of immediate response, engaging the proper experts in cold weather related losses and recoveries. Freeze failures encompass sprinkler system installation, maintenance by service companies, construction errors, and faulty plumbing standards set forth in NFPA 13 (Standard for Installation of Sprinkler Systems), and NFPA 25 – Inspection Testing and Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems.

Subrogation Checklist & Tips:

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SUBROGATING PIPE FREEZE, SPRINKLER SYSTEM FREEZE FAILURES AND PLUMBING LOSSES / $516,000 Settlement on Pipe Break Claim / Subrogation Targets & Tips

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Once again, Ohio is gripped with plunging temperatures and resulting claims from pipe freeze losses.  Recently, RMI was pleased to present a program along with Lee Fire Protection on “Sprinkler System Freeze Failures: Causes, Investigation and Successful Subrogation.” The webinar was a joint presentation with PLRB and NASP.

Plumbing failures occur when water in a system freezes. Water expands when it changes from liquid to solid, and if there are not sufficient air pockets a pipe break will ensue. Often the failure is not evident until a thaw or warming in temperature, sometimes two to three days after the bitter cold spell ends. The resulting escape of water can be catastrophic. RMI has successfully litigated multiple cases involving freeze failures in sprinkler systems, along with other pipe freeze and other plumbing failures.

Recently the firm had a $516,000.00 pipe break water loss subrogation settlement at a commercial building in northern Ohio. The case was litigated by RMI Attorney David Matejczyk.

Other significant recoveries by the firm have involved six digit settlements on freeze failures involving contractors who deviated from the standards set forth in NFPA 13 (Standard for Installation of Sprinkler Systems, and NFPA 25 – Inspection Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems).  RMI Attorneys  David Matejczyk and Glenna Roberts have litigated multiple large and small losses involving freeze failures, NFPA 13 and NFPA 25. The firm also this past year added to its property division Attorney Dustin Smith  a graduate of Ohio State’s engineering program whose background includes fluid and thermodynamics.

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