Don’t Let a Florida Sinkhole Sink You

Sinkholes are a real threat for many Floridians. For example, tourists are coming from as far away as Michigan and Texas to see the 100 feet wide, 50 feet deep hole about to swallow up a Windermere family home. Another family, in Jonesville (a Gainesville suburb), is being forced out of their home after 37 years because of a 80 feet by 100 feet sinkhole that one day appeared in their backyard. Unfortunately, that family will likely never live in that home again.

Sinkholes are a form of erosion, where limestone under the surface dissolves and the dirt and clay above it collapses to fill the void. Sometimes, the pressure from heavy rains after a drought can cause a collapse. While generally a natural phenomenon, human activity such as draining groundwater, drilling water wells and creating artificial ponds of surface water can cause sinkholes to form.

If your property develops a sinkhole, the first thing to do is block it off; next, file a sinkhole claim with your insurance company. An engineer will inspect the damage and determine if it was caused by the sinkhole. While the insurance company is supposed to pay for the stabilization of the property and repairs to the home, some insurance companies are notorious for denying sinkhole claims. A common reason is an insistence that the damage was not “structural” as required by Florida state law.

Insurance companies are for-profit enterprises. Of course, it is no surprise that they try to deny every claim possible. It often takes the help of a specialized attorney, who knows how to deal with these insurance companies on sinkhole claims, to secure for claimants what they are truly due. If you have suffered damage because of a sinkhole, contact an experienced sinkhole attorney to discuss your situation and your options.