Sink Holes Claims
There are more sinkholes in Florida than any other state. In fact, many of the lakes in Florida are sinkhole relics. Sink holes are also known as shake holes, swallow holes, and swallet. A sinkhole is a natural depression or hole in the Earth’s surface. They are caused by the dissolution of rocks or sand under the surface as a result of excessive rain, lowered water levels, or a lack of rain. Sinkholes can vary in size from 3 to 2,000 feet.
Due to aggravated and rapid urbanization sinkholes have become more commonplace in Florida. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that sinkhole damage claims have increased some 1,200% since 1987. Some estimate that Florida sinkhole claims reached above $2 billion in the last few years. If you find yourself among the many who have suffered damage due to a sinkhole, the South Florida sinkhole attorneys at DRG Firm are here to assist you.
It is important to monitor sinkhole formations to avoid property destruction and water contamination. Sinkholes can form without warning, but below are some signs to look out for:
- Deep cracks in the pavement or sidewalk.
- Cracks in floors, walls, or any other structures.
- Difficulty opening or closing windows and doors.
- Immediate or sudden formation of ponds.
- Gradual and localized ground settlement.
- Falling/shifting of tress, foundations, fencepost, or any other structures on the property.
- Turbidity in local well water.
- Circular patches of dying grass or plants in your yard; or depressions in your yard or in the street.
To determine the presence of a sinkhole your insurer must send a geologist or geotechnical engineer to conduct testing. The testing process usually takes several days, which may be spread out over multiple weeks. Florida law requires insurance companies to pay for repairing a sinkhole damaged home once they have confirmed sinkhole activity. If no sinkhole activity is found, your insurance company may deny your claim for damages. If sink hole activity is found, your insurer will solicit repair estimates. The Miami sinkhole attorneys at DRG Firm can assist you with all stages of your sinkhole claim- from an initial filing to a final settlement.
Repair companies usually recommend grouting (pumping concrete into the ground) to correct a sinkhole. Your insurance company will likely take the lowest bid they received for grouting and offer you that amount to settle your claim. Be wary of this! There is no way for the grouting company to be sure how much concrete they will need and what the final cost of the repairs will be. Further, most grouting company’s contracts state that the homeowner will be responsible for any overages not covered by the insurer. This means that you could end up paying as much out of pocket as your insurer paid you. Before you settle with your insurance company, call the Broward sinkhole attorneys at DRG Firm for a free consultation!
If a sinkhole develops on your property you should take the following steps:
- Fence up or rope off the hole.
- Notify you local water management district.
- Keep children away.
- Call your homeowner’s insurance company.
- Leave the property if there is risk of harm.
- Remove valuable possession from property.
Sinkhole claims can be complicated and may require the assistance of a Fort Lauderdale attorney. If your insurance company is not treating you fairly, or refuses to pay for the true value of your claim- contact a sinkhole attorney of South Florida. DRG Firm are available 24/7 to assist you through this process. Please call us at 1.888.413.8353.