Orlando Sinkhole Lawyer
Sinkholes happen without warning, and can cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, not to mention serious injuries. While your home may have had a solid foundation and sound construction, the ground upon which your home is built may be compromised due to the slow erosion of the bedrock. A sinkhole forms when the bedrock, made of a porous rock or salt such as limestone (prevalent in Orlando), is eroded away from groundwater. What first are just tiny cracks underneath the ground grow as water flows through them, causing larger passageways and caverns, and caves. When the underneath cavern grows too large and the roof becomes thin, it can no longer support itself and the ground gives in. If a house is built on that thin roof layer, it will collapse into the hole. Thousands of small sinkholes occur in U.S. suburbs every year. Unfortunately, Florida is one of the most common states in which sinkholes cause damage, due to the porous limestone bedrock and heavy rainfall, according to the U.S. Geological survey. If your home or property has been damaged due to a sinkhole, and your insurance provider is denying your claim or not putting forth an adequate offer, contact an experienced Orlando sinkhole lawyer today.
Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse Coverage is Mandatory for Florida Home Insurance Policies
While Florida insurance providers at one time were not obligated to offer sinkhole coverage, that is no longer the case. Many homeowners were unaware that their policies did not cover sinkholes, and were on their own to cover the tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. However, Florida statute 627.606 requires insurance companies to cover catastrophic ground cover collapse. Additionally, insurers must offer sinkhole losses on any structure and personal property that they contain for an extra premium. The difference between “sinkhole” and “catastrophic ground cover collapse” is vague and misleading. According to Florida law, catastrophic ground cover collapse refers to geological activity resulting from all four of the following specifically worded criteria:
- 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.
According to Florida law, a sinkhole is “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.” With so much sinkhole (or catastrophic ground cover collapse) activity in Florida and in order to protect their profits, insurance companies have helped create a confusing, misleading, and even corrupt system of defining what sinkholes are and what they, the insurers, are obligated to cover.
When You Need an Orlando Lawyer
At The Pendas Law Firm, our experienced Florida sinkhole lawyers are prepared to advocate for you, no matter what stage of the claim process you are in. We can take on your claim when:
- Your home has just been lost or damaged due to a sinkhole and you have yet to file a claim;
- You have already filed a claim with your homeowners’ insurance company and the insurer is delaying in processing your claim;
- You have filed a claim with your homeowners’ insurance company and your claim has been denied; or
- You have filed a claim and have been offered a settlement, but the amount that you’ve been offered is less than you think you deserve and is not enough to repair your home or compensate you for your losses.
Our lawyers know how much loss you are suffering when a sinkhole destroys your home. You don’t deserve insurance adjusters who delay in processing your claim or deny your claim outright; you deserve someone who takes your loss seriously and wants to work hard for you. At The Pendas Law Firm, we work hard to:
- Fight against insurance companies that deny the existence of a sinkhole;
- Negotiate insurance settlement offers that lowball what claimants deserve;
- Protect your right to have your claim processed in a reasonable amount of time;
- Hire experts to determine the presence of the sinkhole and the value of your losses;
- Determine why your claim for damages has been denied and what needs to be done moving forward; and
- Do everything possible to get you the settlement amount you deserve.
Insurance Companies Aren’t Always Honest
It can be frustrating to come to terms with the fact that an insurance company–to which you you have made regular premium payments–isn’t interested in helping you recover the full value of your losses after your home is lost to a sinkhole; however, this is often the reality of the situation. Insurance adjusters are primarily interested in saving the insurance company money. In order to do this, an insurance company may use tactics that aren’t always honest. These might include:
- Taking an unreasonable amount of time to process your claim, in hopes that doing so will lead to frustration and eventually “giving up”;
- Conduct a “drive by” test instead of using actual industry-approved techniques and methods to determine the presence of a sinkhole; or
- Claiming that the property owner knew or should have known of the presence of a sinkhole and yet did not take immediate action.
Contact Our Experienced Orlando Sinkhole Lawyers Today
If your home or personal property was damaged by a sinkhole, contact The Pendas Law Firm today at 1-888-573-6327 to talk with one of our experienced Orlando sinkhole lawyers. Let us fight for your rights as soon as possible. Our lawyers know how devastating losing your home to a sinkhole can be, and understand how desperately you need to be compensated for this loss. When an insurance company is denying you the settlement that you need and deserve, you have options. Our lawyers are here to explain to you those options and advocate for you. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you will never owe us any out-of-pocket fees. An initial consultation with our law firm is free so call us today to get started.