Tampa Sinkhole Attorney
Florida Sinkhole Attorney: Serving all of Pasco, Hernando, Polk, Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties
Our attorneys hope you will find this website informative on sinkholes in the Tampa Bay area, as well as the process surrounding filing a sinkhole claim and your associated legal rights, including their geology and the damage they can cause to Florida homes.
In Hillsborough County 2010, there were a total of 1,526 or 22.8% of Florida's Sinkhole claims. Between the period 2006-2009 there were 2,924 claims or 16.3%, of Florida sinkhole claims reported from Polk County alone. 66% of Florida's sinkhole claims are
concentrated in three counties—Hernando, Pasco and Hillsborough. The total number of claims for the three counties during this same period is 11,872. In 2010, the number of claims in Hernando and Hillsborough are increasing, while the number of claims from Pasco County has declined by 7.2%. In aggregate, however, the total of sinkhole claims in these three counties
thus in 2010 has increased and represents 67.9% of the total sinkhole claims reported.
**Note: These numbers may have changed since this report.
Sinkhole vulnerability is spread throughout the county; however, it is generally concentrated in the area north of Tampa, in Temple Terrace, and in the western half of Plant City. Over 50% of Temple Terrace is susceptible to sinkholes.
Hillsborough County homeowners have until March, 31, 2011, to apply for a Sinkhole Assistance Grant. The Grant is to provide qualified homeowners with financial assistance to recover from the damages of sinkhole impacts from January 2010 through March 2010, and to assist them in the maintenance and support of their families.
The maximum Grant award is $3,000, and only the property owner of record at the time of the sinkhole damage is eligible to receive assistance.
The application period will be from Jan. 3, 2011, through March 31, 2011. Applicants can pick up an application packet in person through the Hillsborough County Family & Aging Services Department at the Plant City Neighborhood Service Center, 307 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 2, in Plant City. They can also apply by calling (813) 757-3871 #201.
To qualify, the applicant must have a qualifying property that is:
- Zoned to allow a single family residence on which has been constructed a single family residence.
- Located within Hillsborough County.
- Has been documented to have suffered sinkhole damage to the property and/or structure during the months of January 2010 through March 2010.
The applicant must also provide specific documentation, such as, but is not limited to:
- Ownership of the qualifying property at the time the damage occurred.
- An estimate of the cost to assess or repair sinkhole damage prepared by a professional engineer or licensed and qualified contractor.
- Property Tax bill for 2010 tax year.
This type is most commonly found in Polk county. Generally, the deeper the sediment, the more clayey the soils tend to become. This clay provides some cohesiveness to the soil material above it, allowing it to bridge any existing cavity in the limestone. If this "bridge" collapses, it results in what is called a cover-collapse sinkhole. The size of the sinkhole depends upon the size of the cavity. Covercollapse sinkholes form the same way as cover-subsidence sinkholes but differ mainly in the bearing strength of the soil above the cavity and whether the sinkhole subsides slowly or collapses abruptly.
Karst topography dominated by sinkholes or dolines usually has several distinct surface features. Sinkholes (also known as dolines) are surface depressions formed by either:
1) the dissolution of bedrock forming a bowlshaped depression, or
2) the collapse of shallow caves that were formed by dissolution of the bedrock. These sinkholes or shallow basins may fill with water forming lakes or ponds.
If you have Filed a sinkhole claim and it has been denied, do not take the insurance company's word for it that you do not have a sinkhole on your property or affecting the structural integrity of your home.
What if my insurance company only offers to pay for my cosmetic damages, or has recommended grouting repairs?
Sometimes an insurance company will offer to pay compensation for cosmetic sinkhole repairs—sometimes called "above the slab" repairs—while ignoring potential substantial structural damage to the home that requires subsurface remediation. Other times, they will offer only to remediate subsurface sinkhole activity by grouting, which essentially involves pouring cement into the sinkhole cavities in hopes of propping up the structure, with varied results.
We accept sinkhole cases on a contingency fee basis, and if we do not obtain a recovery, settlement or judgment on your behalf, you will not owe us any fees or costs.
For more Information Contact Us.
What if the insurance company asks for a Neutral Evaluation or demands an Examination Under Oath ("EUO")?
Recent changes in Florida law created what is known as Neutral Evaluation. Either you or the insurance company may request it, at the insurance company's expense. It is usually a good idea to consult with a qualified legal professional about your options. This can be an intimidating process and you are entitled to have a lawyer present for your EUO if you so choose. So do not hesitate to contact us for advice and counsel should you receive any request by your insurance company to submit to a Neutral Evaluation, EUO or home inspection, or for consultation regarding any step of the claims process.
Read More on "EUO" Know your rights! Contact Us For a Free Consultation
M & I Bank Plaza
501 E. Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33602
16506 Pointe Village Dr.
Lutz, FL 33558
3633 26th St. W.
Bradenton, FL 34205
The following maybe signs of damage caused by sinkholes:
- Interior: Cracking in your Walls, Floors, Doors & Windows do not open or close properly.
- Exterior: Cracks in Stucco, Block, Driveways, Patios, Pool decks.
- Landscape: Fresh exposures on Foundations, Trees, Fencing or other objects.
- Depressions or Wilting of small, circular areas of vegetation because the moisture is draining into the sinkhole that is developing below the surface.
- Ponding: small ponds of rainfall forming where water has not collected before.
- Water: Unusual sediment in water supply.
- If you experience any of the signs above and your neighbors have already reported sinkhole activity.
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