In THE PERFECT STORM: The Science Behind Subrogating Catastrophic Flood Losses, hydrology expert witness Richard Van Bruggen writes:
The National Flood Insurance Act also required the identification of all floodplain areas and established flood risk zones. This is good news for subrogation professionals because it provides a warning to landowners and potential tortfeasors that flooding could occur and that additional safeguards should be taken. Sometimes, constructive notice to a potential tortfeasor of the dangerous propensity of flooding in an area is as easy as indicating it in the property deed, legal description, or other documents relating to the property. In the earlier example involving the Subaru vehicles being flooded in Kenosha, Wisconsin, there was a great deal of disagreement as to whether or not the vehicles were actually parked on a “100-year flood plain”. There was even disagreement as to exactly what that meant. City and state records were sketchy, and the entire area had been covered in crushed gravel, further complicating the question as to whether or not a floodplain had existed. Early land deeds were pulled and anecdotal testimony from farmers in the area was successfully solicited in order to show a pattern of flooding in the area where the vehicles were stored. One farmer had kept meticulous rainfall and flood records in an old notebook going back fifty years.