Tampa Sinkhole Lawyer
Tampa, like most of the southeast, is prone to sinkholes that can cause catastrophic damage and even swallow an entire house in the blink of an eye. There is no warning with a sinkhole, as the building, pavement, or other type of structure will often give no signs before the event. While some sinkholes cause slower-forming depressions, many open up in a matter of seconds, leaving no time for prevention or evacuation. Contact our Tampa sinkhole lawyers today, we have years of experience in this field.
In Florida, sinkholes are often referred to as “catastrophic ground cover collapse,” which, geologically, is the same thing as a sinkhole. However, the law and insurance providers do not see the two as one and the same. While catastrophic ground cover collapse is covered by all homeowner’s insurance policies as a mandatory by Florida law, sinkholes are not. To understand the difference, legally speaking, catastrophic ground cover collapse is defined as all of the four following (all four criteria must be met in order for an insurance provider to cover the damage):
- 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 agency authorized by law to issue such an order for that structure.
A sinkhole is defined as “a landform created by subsidence of soil, sediment, or rock as underlying strata are dissolved by groundwater. A sinkhole forms by collapse into subterranean voids created by dissolution of limestone or dolostone or by subsidence as these strata are dissolved.” Insurance companies never like paying out to their customers during their times of need, which is why it is so common to initially be denied by your insurer when you file a claim. However, from 2006 to 2010 insurance companies paid out $1.4 billion in sinkhole claims, according to the Insurance Journal. Call an experienced Tampa sinkhole lawyer today if you are the victim of a sinkhole or collapse.
Sinkholes Form In Karst Topography Due to Nature and Human Activity
Sinkholes form due to human-induced reasons as well as naturally. Tampa’s bedrock is karst. Karst is a geological term used to describe rock that can be dissolved and carried away by rainwater, which is slightly acidic in nature. With time, rainwater pools and seeps through the bedrock, slowly eating away and dissolving it. Cracks form. Then tiny tunnels. Then small voids and caves. Eventually the cavern becomes so large that the groundcover can no longer hold itself up, and the collapse or sinkhole occurs. Heavy rainfall may bring about a sinkhole collapse, as well as heavy rain following a drought. Additionally, human activity and overdevelopment can cause sinkholes. These human-caused sinkholes arise from salt mining, excessive groundwater withdrawal for irrigation, and cover collapses along roadways where water is frequently flushed into the soil, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. No matter the cause, if you have experienced home damage due to a sinkhole, contact The Pendas Law Firm today at 1-888-573-6327. Our Tampa sinkhole lawyers will help you throughout each step of your case.