Mar
2
2013

Man swallowed by sinkhole in Seffner, presumed dead

This story has already gone national within a day of the incident. A 37 year old man in Seffner Florida, Jeff Bush, was swallowed by a cover collapse sinkhole that occurred directly under his bedroom. Jeff Bush was sleeping when around 11:00 pm the earth suddenly opened and took his entire room with it. The victims brother rushed in the room and even jumped in the hole attempting to save him. A deputy came on scene and rescued the brother from the hole before it also took his life. The rest of the family luckily escaped the house unharmed. The brother described that he watched as the bed frame and furniture disappeared into the hole and he thought he heard the faint pleas for help of his brother.

The house itself remains intact, making this incident even more rare. The sinkhole apparently opened under the house and took the interior slab but left the actual exterior walls unscathed. In an effort to show how ridiculous the new laws enacted in 2011 are, technically this claim may not even fit the definition of structural damage as many insurance engineers make the argument that the slab of the house is not a structural component. Therefore, since the structure of the house itself has not sustained any damage, this house would technically fall outside the definition according to some insurance engineers.

I must only assume the insurance company will do the right thing in this case. However, as I expressed on the Spice Show on 102.5 The Bone last night, our firm is offering to represent the family free of charge during this process. I again must assume that this carrier will not dispute the coverage of this claim but just the process and red tape of going through a sinkhole claim is enough for any family to deal, much less a family grieving a loss such as this.

While situations like this are extremely rare, they are real, unpredictable and terrifying. By the way, this home apparently just passed an inspection from the insurance company indicating no concerns for sinkhole potential. If this does not demonstrate the necessity of having coverage no matter where you live I don’t know what would. It also demonstrates that the suits in Tallahassee that think this is all about money need to take a second look at what a serious issue sinkholes are here in Florida.