Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Michigan Dam Breach

Here are some the most-asked questions that arise about the dam failure.

How did this happen?

The full background and extent of the failures of the Edenville and Sanford dams is still not fully understood, but there were warnings that the dams were unfit. In 2018, federal regulators revoked the license of Boyce Hydro Power to operate the dams due to “inadequate spillway capacity”, essentially, an inability to handle a major flood. Our attorneys are investigating, and we are committed to holding those responsible accountable.

My house was destroyed, do I still have to pay my mortgage?

In most cases, yes. This makes it all the more urgent to get appropriate compensation from those responsible for allowing this to happen. This disaster should not be the cause of any family’s financial ruin.

Is there a risk of chemical contamination of the area?

Unfortunately, yes. The Dow Chemical plant near Midland has also suffered flooding, and the company has acknowledged that flood water has reached their chemical containment ponds. It is unknown if there has been any outflow of contaminated water at this time.

When can I go back to inspect the damage?

The most important thing is to listen to state and local authorities and stay safe. Do not go back until you are told that it is safe to do so. Floodwater can be extremely dangerous; from possible chemical contamination to downed power lines that can cause severe electrical shock. Even roads can become unstable and dangerous. Only once given the all-clear should you return, and you should use an abundance of caution at all times.

How do I receive my mail while I’m displaced?

If you are temporarily evacuated after the wildfires, you can submit an online request to ask that your local post office holds your mail at the office for a limited period of time while you’re away from home.

However, if you have lost your home, or are displaced for a longer period of time due to the wildfires, you can submit an online change of address form to forward your mail to a new, temporary address while your home is being repaired or rebuilt via the official United States Postal Service Change of Address page.

What kind of compensation could I potentially receive?

You deserve compensation for every penny you lost due to the negligence of others. If your claim is successful, you could potentially receive compensation for:

  • Damage to your property
  • Economic damage from loss of business or loss of wages
  • Expenses caused by the evacuation such as transportation and lodging

How do I know how much compensation I should be asking for?

This is a difficult question to answer at this time. Both because it may be impossible to properly inspect property damage at this point, and because you may still be incurring unexpected costs due to a forced evacuation. A Morgan & Morgan attorney can guide you through this process, and help you fight for the most compensation possible.

Am I eligible to file a claim?

If your property is within the flood zone, or you suffered some other form of economic or health damage as a result of the Edenville and Sanford Lake dam floods in central Michigan, you may have a case. You can have your situation reviewed for free and find out more about your options by taking this quiz.

Will the government be providing any kind of financial assistance?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does often provide some financial assistance to flood victims, with a theoretical max of $33,000 per household. But most households will receive far less than that, if they receive anything at all. It is best not to rely on compensation from the federal or state government to make up for your losses.

Can I afford a lawyer?

Absolutely. No matter your finances, you can afford quality legal representation because it costs nothing upfront to hire us, and nothing at all unless you win. Morgan & Morgan operates on a contingency-fee basis, which means we only get paid if we successfully resolve your case. Our fees come out of a favorable settlement or jury award, not out of your pocket. And the initial consultation is always 100% free.

Those displaced by the floods may be eligible to file a lawsuit to get compensation for their losses. Take this quiz to see if you have a case.