Our state is known for dangerous and expensive sinkholes. If you have structural damage caused by a sinkhole and encounter difficulty with your insurance company, our attorneys can help. Because of the unique geology of Florida, our state has more sinkholes than any other state in the country.
As a result, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation requires insurers to provide catastrophic ground cover collapse protection, with the option to purchase additional coverage for sinkhole activity. Despite this coverage, many residential and business owners discover the condition of their property is deteriorating due to sinkholes—and their insurance company will not pay. Throughout Florida, our Tampa sinkhole lawyers work with experts and your insurance company to settle your claim satisfactorily or pursue a sinkhole lawsuit on your behalf.
Sinkholes in Tampa
According to the Florida Geological Survey, the Tampa area has the highest sinkhole activity rates in Florida. Property owners around the Tampa Bay region experience sinkholes that suddenly form, as well as subsurface sinkhole activity that slowly causes structural instability and damage over time. Because of the unique limestone composition of bedrock in Florida, rain and surface water percolating downward slowly dissolve the very rock that supports surface soil and structures. When the bedrock develops cracks and crevices, underground spaces open up. Eventually, the covering ground falls, either slowly, or quickly in seconds.
Two forms of sinkholes include:
- When terrain collapses suddenly, the overlying ground gives way into a ground cover collapse.
- More frequently, solution sinkholes form slowly over time—shifting, enlarging, and filling as bedrock dissolves. Solution sinkholes cause the sinkhole activity that gradually damages structures, including buildings and homes constructed on slabs.
Sinkhole Damage Claims in Florida
Most Tampa residents are aware of the threat of sinkholes to their safety and property values. Our Franklin Street attorneys regularly work with owners to evaluate residential and commercial damage and establish a claim. We also engage geologic experts to verify a claim for compensation and covered repairs.
While sinkholes are a natural feature of Florida topology, events that may trigger sinkhole activity include:
- Population increases place more people, structures, and weighted activity in danger in a sinkhole-prone landscape.
- Weather fluctuations that include periods of drought followed by heavy rains, or an increase in severe tropical weather activity can speed up or trigger sinkhole activity. Drought also triggers agricultural water pumping which lowers aquifer levels, thus increasing the potential for sinkholes.
- New excavation or building activities that involve blasting, drilling, vibration, and pounding contribute to sinkhole activity.
If you notice changes to windows, walls, door frames, or floors—including cracking and displacement—it could be the first signs of sinkhole activity.
Consider these tips:
- Be knowledgeable of your insurance coverage before you contact your insurance agent.
- Carefully review the sinkhole report provided by your insurance company.
- Educate yourself on the remedies suggested by your insurer.
- Consider the use of a Neutral Evaluator if your insurance company denies your claim.
Speak with our Tampa sinkhole attorneys if you are unable to gain satisfaction. We work with you, geologic experts, and others to protect your rights, help prevent greater property damage, and reduce risk of financial loss.
If You Suspect Sinkhole Activity, Call Us
When you observe a sinkhole, or suspect sinkhole activity, it is important to take action. If you have questions, we help you file an insurance claim, question a claim denial, or aggressively pursue higher compensation under your policy on your behalf. Call us today at (813) 223-5505, or contact us for a free case evaluation.