Ocala Sinkhole Lawyer
Florida is no stranger to natural disasters contributed to by climate disaster. Hurricanes and tropical storms ravage the state just about every year, tornadoes touch down frequently, and even dangers from below are ever lurking in the form of sinkholes and catastrophic ground cover collapse. According to the Florida Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance, and reported on by CNN, there were 24,671 sinkhole claims between 2006 and 2010 for an average of almost 17 claims a day. Loopholes in Florida state law enable insurance companies to deny claims easily in many cases, which is why you need to work with an Ocala sinkhole lawyer to maximize your chances of success.
What is Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse?
Sinkhole coverage used to be required in every homeowners’ insurance policy. Over the years, insurers realized that sinkholes are not only a costly problem here in Florida, but that they could change the law by funding politicians for election, and therefore save hundreds of millions of dollars a year by being able to deny sinkhole claims. In 2007, homeowners were required to start purchasing additional policies to cover sinkhole damage. The law was changed to include new language for sinkholes, which would be called “catastrophic ground cover collapse” in the future depending on the size of the collapse.
Insurance companies are required to cover the peril now known as catastrophic ground cover collapse, but are no longer required to cover sinkholes unless the homeowner purchases additional coverage. But what it the difference between the two? A sinkhole, according to National Geographic, is a collapse in the ground cover caused by the subsidence of rock and soil underneath. Florida has karst topography, meaning that the bedrock is porous. This allows groundwater to move freely, slowly eroding the limestone over decades and centuries; eventually a cavern is formed. When enough bedrock is eroded, there is not enough to support the soil and top surface above, resulting in a collapse called a sinkhole. Catastrophic ground cover collapse is the same exact natural phenomenon, but certain legal elements must be present in order for it to be a covered peril by an insurance company’s standard, non-sinkhole, policy. These elements include:
- The abrupt collapse of the ground cover visible to the naked eye;
- Structural damage to the covered building that includes damage to the foundation;
- The covered building suffers a degree of damage resulting in it being condemned or ordered to be vacated by a governmental agency.
Events That Can Cause a Sinkhole
With enough time, any underground cavern carved out by the erosion of water will result in a collapse. However, some sinkholes occur sooner than they otherwise would due to:
- Rapid lowering of the water table; and
- Flooding or increased precipitation.
Human activity can also cause a sinkhole. This activity includes:
- Over consumption of groundwater;
- Building on an abandoned mine;
- Broken water main;
- Building artificial industrial storage ponds;
- Sewer pipes collapse; and
- Drilling water wells.
Our Ocala Sinkhole Lawyers Can Provide the Financial Relief You Are Looking For
Whether you have sinkhole coverage or not, you need an attorney to file your claim and recover the full amount of compensation you need to rebuild your home and cover all of your damages. Call one of our experienced Ocala sinkhole damage attorneys at The Pendas Law Firm today at 1-754-800-0000 to schedule a free consultation.