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Sinkholes Swallow Real Estate in Florida

SINKHOLES IN THE NEWS

How do sinkholes form? Why does Florida get so many of them? The questions posed here are timely, for sure. Several sinkholes opened up recently in The Villages, threatening several homes, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said. Four homes were evaluated. Officials said the largest of the three holes is 35 feet deep and 18 feet wide. 

Florida is no stranger to sinkholes. Florida, along with Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania are attractive terrain for these natural phenomena, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Back in 2013, sections of a building at a resort near Orlando’s Disney theme park region collapsed into a sinkhole, forcing the evacuation of 105 guests in the structure and also dozens of visitors staying in two adjacent three-story buildings.

WHY ARE THERE SINKHOLES IN FLORIDA

Florida has earned international recognition as a haven for hurricanes as well as another important natural disaster – sinkholes. Florida is the number one state in the U.S. for the natural occurrence of sinkholes.

Florida’s peninsula is made up of porous carbonate rocks such as limestone that store and help move groundwater. Over time, these rocks can dissolve from an acid created from oxygen in water, creating a void underneath the limestone roof. When dirt, sand or clay that sits atop gets too heavy for the limestone roof, it can collapse and form a sinkhole.

Sinkholes are caused naturally but they can be triggered by “water” events.  For example, sinkholes can form due to heavy rainfall, tropical storms or hurricanes, a drought followed by heavy rainfall, and human activity like substantial pumping of groundwater to spray fruits during freezes, well drilling, excavating, and leaking broken water lines.

EVALUATE YOUR PROPERTY

Homeowners and property managers should look out for holes or depressions in which surface or storm water disappears. Check to see if the property has a noticeable sinking, slanting, or sagging as well as cracking walls. Moreover look to see whether there is tilting trees or fence posts.

Has the vegetation on your property wilted and is there an unusual earthy smell?  Peruse your property to see if there has been an infestation of bugs. These are all telltale signs of a sinkhole, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

LAWYER UP

For residential and commercial property owners, sinkholes are a catastrophic problem. Your home and business are two of life’s biggest investments.  Sinkhole insurance claims and property damage claims involving sinkhole-related damage are complex. Due to the fact that repairs to sinkhole damaged property can be extremely expensive, insurance companies frequently look for reasons to allege that the property damage resulted from some other means and therefore they deny or delay sinkhole claims.

Corless Barfield Trial Group is a network of experienced sinkhole insurance claims attorneys. It is important to have a team of knowledgeable property damage attorneys to help you understand the laws governing sinkhole insurance coverage and the provisions contained in your homeowner’s or business insurance policy. Call us today at 877-517-5595 or 813-258-4998 for a free consultation.