Due to the natural erosion of limestone beneath the surface of Florida’s terrain, there is the possibility that your home could be damaged by a sinkhole, and sinkhole damage in Florida can be devastating to your property. A sinkhole can cause cracks in the foundation of your home, displace your floors, or swallow your home altogether.
In fact, a recent sinkhole in Tampa has resulted in the evacuation of an entire apartment building. As a result, all of the residents had to relocate in order to facilitate engineering work on the building and area. If you have been a victim of sinkhole damage in Florida, then you may be eligible for compensation in a Florida sinkhole damage claim. To learn more, you can consult a professional Florida sinkhole damage attorney.
What Causes a Florida sinkhole?
When groundwater moves through limestone beneath the earth’s surface, and then passes on, it leaves cavities (or holes) in the bedrock beneath the ground. Eventually, these cavities will collapse inward, and cause a Florida sinkhole. Collapse sinkholes based on this formation are the most common type of Florida sinkhole. These types of sinkholes can happen very suddenly, especially when the surface of the ground is heavy with soil and clay. Collapse sinkholes are often deep and their walls are very steep.
Can Sinkholes Be Predicted?
While there is no way to predict a Florida sinkhole, there are however signs that one has developed. Some common signs of sinkholes include:
- Slumping trees, fence posts, home foundations, etc.;
- The sudden formation of small ponds;
- Structural cracks in the walls or floors of your home;
- Discolored well water; and
- Wilting vegetation.
If you suspect that there may be a Florida sinkhole on your property, then you should:
- Alert your local Water Management Authority
- Barricade the sinkhole with a rope or fence
- Keep children away from the area
- Contact your homeowners insurance provider
If your home is in fact damaged, then your homeowners insurance provider may compensate your sinkhole damage. However, your insurer may refuse to pay you the money that you deserve. If you need help recovering the money you are owed due to sinkhole damage in Florida, you can get the expert help of a Florida insurance claim attorney.
How Do I File a Florida Sinkhole Claim?
To file a claim after a Florida sinkhole has damaged your home or property, you will need to contact your Florida homeowners insurance provider. When you contact them, tell them about the damage that was done. You’ll also need to provide evidence of the damage. Your insurer will collect the necessary information and begin the insurance claims process.
According to Florida law, your homeowners insurance provider must cover the damages caused by a sinkhole. If you have a problem dealing with your insurer, or if they refuse to pay your Florida sinkhole claim, you’ll need to get the help of a Florida insurance claims attorney.
To proceed with your claim, your insurance provider will need to send a geologist to survey your property. The geologist (or geotechnical engineer) will conduct tests to determine whether a sinkhole exists. These tests may use Ground Penetrating Radar and Electrical Resistivity studies, as well as a drilling rig which will be used drill a hole into the earth.
These tests may take anywhere between a few days to several weeks. If a sinkhole is confirmed, then your insurer will come up with an estimate for the costs of your repairs. If, however, no sinkhole activity is found, then your insurer may deny your Florida sinkhole damage claim.
Hiring a Florida Insurance Claims Attorney
If you discover a Florida sinkhole on your property, it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney right away. A Florida insurance claims attorney can ensure that your claim is handled according to state law. If, for whatever reason, your sinkhole claim is denied, then a Florida insurance claims attorney can file a lawsuit in a court of law.
The Florida insurance claims attorneys at Falk & Falk Law Firm knows how important it is to you and your family to get the settlement you need in order to move on with your lives. Our attorneys have experience in helping victims of natural disasters—and other homeowners nightmares—recover from their loss.
An experienced Florida insurance claims attorney can help you to fight for the compensation that you need and navigate the tricky world of homeowners and hurricane insurance. Contact us today – 1-877-663-5110.