Tag Archives: sinkholes

Sinkhole Swallows Homes, Boat in Land O’ Lakes, Florida Forcing Evacuation

Attorney Ted Corless is on the scene investigating the latest large sinkhole incident in the State of Florida. A large sinkhole opened on the morning of July 14 and it has already swallowed two homes. Authorities are scrambling to keep people safe from the massive, fast-growing sinkhole. Corless learned repairs were done on the sinkhole before this incident with grout, which is a less effective way to treat sinkhole activity in an effort to save money. The sinkhole was estimated to be 200 to 250 feet wide and 50 feet deep and appeared to be moving toward a nearby lake. For a free consultation regarding your sinkhole claim, call 813-258-4998 or 877-517-5595.

Sinkholes and Neighborhood Sinkhole Activity

 

I submitted a claim 2 months ago, and waiting for Citizens Property Insurance to provide me information about my sinkhole claim.

I am aware of at least 2 confirmed sinkholes in my neighborhood, one which is directly next door to our home. Should I tell them about this other sinkhole or keep my mouth shut?

In the context of an insurance claim, more information is always

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Insurance companies are aware of the scientific and practical relevance of sinkholes adjacent to a home under investigation. I use the term “practical” because it is very difficult for an insurance company to deny a claim when there is a sinkhole either directly next to or in front of a confirmed home, especially when they are involved in the claim.

Even in cases where there is minimal evidence of sinkhole activity, it can be very difficult for an insurance company to defend a case on a disputed sinkhole when there is a sinkhole on an adjacent property. This is because sinkholes do not know man-made boundaries and jurors place enormous weight on this evidence.

Get Your Neighbor”s Engineering Reports

If you are able to obtain a copy of the engineering reports and provide them to the insurance company, this would be wise. If you are not able to get a copy of the previous reports, but do know the addresses, you may want to at least provide this to the company. As always, put this information in writing, and present it in a constructive manner to the insurance company.

In providing information to your insurance company, your motives are obvious (i.e. “cover my loss”), but that does not mean it is not wise to provide them good information upon which a positive conclusion can be made for you. Later, if the insurance company fails to investigate this new information, this can be important information to a jury that they intentionally ignored information which would be helpful to the engineer they retained to investigate your home.

Read our tips on filling out a sinkhole claim.

Have a burning question you”™d like to ask about sinkholes? Let us know.

 

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Sinkholes and Heavy Summer Rain

Are more sinkholes identified during the dry or rainy season?  The rains recently have been especially heavy, and we have seen more damage to our home in the form of settlement damage.  Thoughts?

Water has been called the fuel that drives sinkhole activity.  In fact, in the definition of sinkhole activity provided under , Florida Statutes, the term sinkhole is the action of “water” on limestone or other similar rock formation.  Water is not, in most situations, a neutral actor, as it usually acidic or basic, and can act to dissolve rock over time.  When it rains a great deal, there is more water, and potentially more dissolution of the rock.

Additionally, water percolating through soil completely alters the characteristics of the soil.  Although some soil material is compacted, the addition of water acts to “reorient” or change the density of the material.  This usually happens only in the shallow soil, as the deeper material is still under the pressure of the soil above it.

In a lot of ways, soil is acting not as a solid material but as a dynamic material reacting to the climate changes.  When those changes are dramatic during heavy summer rains, more changes are often observed in the homes.

The increase in water also acts to create more disputes regarding the causes of damage.  For example, when there is an increase in water on soil material, the water can also trigger other, unrelated soil conditions.

These include associations with active “shrink swell clay,” which often masks sinkhole conditions at a property.  The increase in water also caused the loosening of sand, which, too can mask conditions more likely to be the result of sinkhole.

Read our tips on filling out a sinkhole claim.

Have a burning question you”™d like to ask about sinkholes? Let us know.