In Pinellas County 2010, there were a total of 326 or 4.9% of Florida’s Sinkhole claims.
Between the period 2006-2009 there were 1,140 claims or 6.3%, of Florida sinkhole claims reported from Pinellas County alone.
66% of Florida’s sinkhole claims are concentrated in three counties—Hernando, Pasco and Hillsborough with Pinellas County 4th.
The total number of claims for the four counties during this same period is 13,328. 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.
Aerial photographs and topographic maps show that in Pinellas County, sinkholes are found primarily in the northern one-third of the County.
The highest concentration of sinkhole activity has been reported in Trinity and the East Lake area down to Curlew Road. The remainder of observed sinkholes appear to be distributed evenly about the County, but are much less common.
Geologists believe this pattern of occurrence is caused by the Tampa Limestone dipping to the south and becoming more deeply buried by the Hawthorne Formation.
The continuous clay layers comprising the Hawthorne Formation prevent the fast percolation of rain water to dissolve the Tampa Limestone. By the time the water seeps through the clay, it is neutralized.
In addition, the thick clay formation (100 feet) acts as an additional support over any ancient solution channels in the underlying limestone.
This type of sinkhole is most commonly found in Trinity and northern Pinellas county.
Cover-collapse sinkholes are caused by layers of clay rather than sand.
The clay provides a cohesive material for soil that forms bridges of existing cavities in the limestone.
Collapse of such a bridge can cause abrupt and relatively deep sinkholes.
Two types of sinkholes, cover-subsidence and cover-collapse, are known
to occur on ground surfaces.
Cover-subsidence sinkholes tend to occur in areas where the
sand layer is as deep as 50 to 100 feet.
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.
This may explain in an arial view the higher amount of small ponds and pocmarks in the landscape throughout the Trinity and East Lake area in northern Pinellas County.
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.
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.
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.