Fourth potential sinkhole opens in Seffner, Florida

The dangerous sinkhole problem in Seffner, Florida, appears to be getting even worse. Seffner, of course, was the location of an immense sinkhole that swallowed a man as he slept inside his home last month, resulting in his death. Since then, it has been reported that as many as three additional sinkholes may have opened up in the community within the span of one month. Several homes have been evacuated as a result, according to various national news sources.

The town of Seffner as well as Florida’s sinkhole problem were thrust into the national spotlight when the sinkhole fatality took place last month, but of course in central Florida and Tampa sinkholes are a part of life for many people.

Sinkholes are due mainly to the state’s geology. Florida is underlain for the most part by porous limestone, which holds a significant amount of water in aquifers. Generally speaking sinkholes are caused by air pockets developing in the underlying layer of limestone; when these pockets expand, the weight of the ground can cause the top layer to collapse.

In some tragic cases, this can be deadly. More often, however, the result is significant property damage in the form of cracks in foundation, walls, steps and flooring.

It has been reported that there are more than 10,000 sinkholes in Florida, and due to urban expansion some have forecast that the sinkhole problem will become worse. And although insurers in Florida are required to offer coverage for sinkhole losses, in recent years insurers have hiked up rates and become notorious for failing to honor claims.

Due to the many complexities of sinkholes, sinkhole law and sinkhole insurance claims, those whose homes show evidence of sinkhole damage are often wise to seek legal counsel. Attorneys who are experienced in sinkhole claims may enlist the help of independent geologists and structural engineers in order to best present the evidence to the insurer, as well as advise the homeowner about repairing or selling the property.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Possible sinkhole disrupts Florida families near where man died,” Michael Muskal, March 27, 2013

Source: Bloomberg Business Week, “In Florida, Sinkhole Risks Grow With Urban Expansion,” Vanessa Wong, March 5, 2013

  • For more information about sinkhole law and sinkhole damage claims, please visit our Florida law firm’s Sinkhole Claims page.