There are more sinkholes in Florida than in any other state in the nation, making it a hazard of special interest and concern to Florida homeowners.
While many people are familiar with sinkholes and their effects through media coverage of catastrophic losses, sinkhole related structural damage to a home need not be so dramatic.
Often the signs that sinkhole activity is present on a property are more subtle than a home slipping into a huge crater.
Such signs include cracking of walls, floors and even patios and pool decks, windows and doors not closing properly or “fitting” into their frames, and even the formations of puddles in the yard following rainstorms can all be symptoms of sinkhole activity affecting your property.
Sinkholes can cause damage to the structural integrity of your home, and can be costly to repair.
Often times insurance companies can be resistant to recognizing the presence of sinkhole activity at an insured home, or reluctant to offer the full amount necessary to adequately repair the damage.
A recent change in Florida law requires authorized insurers to cover “catastrophic ground cover collapse,” but damage caused by a sinkhole may not be covered by your policy.
We hope you will find this website informative about sinkholes, including their geology and the damage they can cause to Florida homes, as well as the process surrounding filing a sinkhole claim and your associated legal rights.
Sinkholes are depressions or holes in the land surface that occur throughout west-central Florida.
Sinkholes are extremely common in Pasco County, Polk and Hernando Counties, but they do and can form anywhere in the state.
They can form slowly and gradually, or abruptly and suddenly, but all are a result of the dissolving of the underlying limestone.
While they are found throughout the world, they are abundant in Florida due to our unique geology which includes subsurface limestone and flowing water all of which contribute to sinkhole development.
Even if you do not live in an area prone to sinkhole activity it does not mean you do not have one.
All Florida homeowners should be we aware of the potential for sinkhole related damage to their home.
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.
While you may receive a fancy and glossy geologist or engineering report from your insurance company denying there is sinkhole activity or damage,.
It is often a boilerplate report and is written by someone who is hired by the insurance company to protect their interests, not yours!
We can assist you in obtaining a second opinion from an independent professional and who can even review the “raw” data from the insurance company’s own report that may be subject to an entirely different interpretation.
One that isn’t motivated by saving the insurance company lots of money.
We can help you place the initial claim, or if you have already placed the claim and received a negative outcome.
We are equipped to litigate against your insurance company in the event that independent and qualified professionals have come to a conclusion that a sinkhole may indeed be causing damage to your home. Contact Us For a Free Consultation
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.
Often an independent structural engineer will recommend using underpinning to prop up the home, but due to their expense insurance company hired experts very rarely make such a recommendation.
Before you accept a settlement offer that includes just grouting repairs, be sure to consult with a qualified professional who was not hired by the insurance company.
Once you sign a release of claim, you are usually barred from recovering additional money.
It will be our aim to make sure your home is restored to its original condition and value, and that your rights are FULLY protected. Contact Us For a Free Consultation.
FL Legal Group Attorneys handle sinkhole claims and litigation and serve the entire Tampa Bay Area including Pasco County and Hernando County.
Our attorneys appreciate the concern and worry that accompany the possibility for a homeowner that sinkhole activity may be affecting their property along with the possibility of having to deal with an insurance company that may not be as sympathetic to your plight.
We are committed to representing homeowners who have dutifully paid their insurance premiums and simply expect they will be treated fairly when the need to file a claim arises.
We will stand up and protect your rights and interests! Remember, the insurance company is looking out for its own interests, and negotiating with them can be complicated and time consuming.
Often the assistance of an attorney can help make sure homeowners have access to a level playing field when making a claim or appealing a denied claim. If you believe that a sinkhole has caused damage to your home.
We at FL Legal Group handle sinkhole claims and litigation and serve the entire Tampa Bay Area including Pasco County and Polk County.
Sinkholes cause millions of dollars worth of damage each year.
Generally the only sinkholes you here about are the ones in the news, or when one swallows a house.
There have been over 500 reported sinkholes in or around Spring Hill.
If you think you may have a sinkhole or are filling a sinkhole claim, It is usually a good idea to consult with a legal professional about your options.
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.
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.
While purportedly “neutral”, given that the professional that will be retained by the insurance company to conduct the Neutral Evaluation will be paid by them, and usually do most of their expert work for them, a homeowner should be wary of this process.
Before requesting a Neutral Evaluation yourself, or in the event that your insurance company demands one, it is usually a good idea to consult with a legal professional about your options.
Additionally, your policy likely contains a requirement that you submit to a sworn examination, or Examination Under Oath or “EUO”, where an insurance company representative who is usually a lawyer will ask you questions about your claim before a court reporter who will type every word you say in response to make a permanent record.
This can be an intimidating process and you are entitled to have a lawyer present for your EUO if you so choose. Even if the insurance company wants to simply take a recorded statement or look around your property, you are entitled to have an attorney present. We are equipped to provide such representation to you.
So do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation should you receive any request by your insurance company to submit to a Neutral Evaluation, EUO or home inspection, or for a consultation regarding any step of the claims process.
Know your rights! Contact Us For a Free Consultation