Jacksonville Sinkhole Lawyer
A sinkhole occurs when the ground surface caves in, causing anywhere from zero damage to catastrophe, depending on how much caving occurred. In Florida, sinkholes are common, due to the porous limestone bedrock, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Limestone and other types of karst topography are rich in sinkholes because the acidic rainwater that seeps through them can easily, over time, cause dissolution. As the limestone or other karst rock, such as gypsum or salt beds, is slowly eaten away, caves and underground cracks form and expand. When an underground cavern close to the ground surface grows large enough, the topsoil will no longer be able to support it. If that top layer of ground has any human-made structures on it, they may be destroyed as the sinkhole opens up.
In Jacksonville and other areas, sinkholes also occur from human activity such as construction, pumping groundwater, and development. Even if the sinkhole that affected you was not caused by human activity, you are still entitled to compensation through your homeowner’s insurance policy. However, collecting those funds can be more difficult than you’d expect, as insurance companies are interested in making a profit before serving their customers’ needs. If you are having any sort of difficulty collecting the funds you need to make home repairs due to your insurance company denying your claim or not offering the amount you deserve, contact an experienced Jacksonville sinkhole lawyer at once.
Sinkhole Coverage Must be Made Available in Every Florida Homeowner’s Insurance Plan
It was not until 2007 that all homeowner insurance plans in the state of Florida were required to provide coverage for catastrophic ground surface collapse. Before that, homeowners had to purchase separate sinkhole coverage, which many were either not aware of or had difficulty paying for. However, when defining a sinkhole, the term “catastrophic ground surface collapse” is used, legally. And, Florida statute 627.706 has four criteria that must be met in order to fit under that term. The geological activity must meet all of the following:
- The abrupt collapse of the ground cover;
- A depression in the ground cover clearly visible to the naked eye;
- Structural damage to the covered building, including the foundation; and
- The insured structure being condemned and ordered to be vacated by the governmental.
After 2007, sinkhole claims skyrocketed as thousands of homeowners were able to demand the compensation they needed to rebuild their damaged homes and property. Because of this, insurance providers panicked due to their decreased profits, and Florida Senate Bill 408 was passed in 2011. Among many other things, it resulted in decreased coverage for homeowners when it came to sinkhole damage. It narrowed the definition of “structural damage,” required policyholders to pay for half of the retroactive sinkhole testing costs (up to $2,500) if the insurance provider denied an initial sinkhole claim, and required sinkhole claims to be filed within two years.
Contact our Jacksonville Sinkhole Lawyers Today
Filing a sinkhole claim can be tricky, and your insurance company may attempt to play hard to get. To ensure you receive the full compensation that you deserve, call 1-888-573-6327 today to speak with an experienced Jacksonville sinkhole lawyer from The Pendas Law Firm. We are prepared to help you immediately.