Miami Sinkhole Claim Attorneys
Helping Florida Clients with Sinkhole Claims
Have you noticed cracks in your home’s walls, foundation, or other areas? Do your doors and windows no longer shut properly? Has your water come out of the tap muddy or dirty? This kind of damage could signal that a sinkhole is forming below your property.
At The Property Advocates, P.A., we exclusively help clients deal with insurance claims related to Florida property damage. Our Miami sinkhole claims attorneys will work closely with you to make sure you get the full coverage you deserve, even if the insurance company denies your claim or offers only to pay for cosmetic damages.
To learn how The Property Advocates, P.A can assist with the sinkhole insurance claims process, call (786) 686-5045 or contact us online to set up your free case evaluation. We speak English, Spanish, and Creole.
What Are Sinkholes?
Sinkholes are a common phenomenon in Miami, Florida. Because of our state’s climate and geology, sinkholes regularly occur naturally and therefore can be difficult to predict or prevent. Sinkholes can form anywhere in the state, but the area with the most activity is throughout west and central Florida.
For these reasons, it is vitally important to ensure your insurance policy covers such disasters and that you receive the compensation you deserve if your property is damaged or destroyed by a sinkhole.
The following are the most common types of sinkholes:
- Cover collapse sinkholes: These sinkholes generally happen without warning and the damage can be catastrophic. They occur when a large cavity develops in limestone, causing the earth to collapse under its own weight.
- Cover subsidence sinkholes: These occur when permeable earth is filled with grains of sand that move downward, replacing grains that have already replaced dissolved limestone.
- Solution sinkholes: These occur in areas where limestone is partially or completely exposed at the surface, resulting in a gradual downward movement of the surface. This can develop a depression that collects increasing amounts of surface runoff until collapse.
What Are the Signs That You Have a Sinkhole?
You can suspect a sinkhole is slowly forming or is on the verge of suddenly collapsing if you see any of the following signs:
- Cracks in the foundation, walls, floors, ceilings, and driveways
- Floors that are not level
- Ceiling nail pops
- Failures in plumbing
- Cracks in the ground
- There are depressions on the ground surface
- The doors and windows are not opening and closing correctly
- Unidentified dried vegetation
- Stains left by water that cannot be explained
- A structure may creak or make noises for no apparent reason
Miami Property Damage Attorneys at The Property Advocates can help you with your sinkhole insurance claim if you suspect your property has been damaged by a sinkhole or if your sinkhole insurance claim has left you frustrated. Reach out to them today so they can help you get the money you deserve.
What Should Insurance Cover in a Sinkhole Claim?
An insurer must inform the policyholder about a sinkhole loss, stabilize land and buildings, and repair foundations as recommended by the professional engineer within the terms of the policy. Additional repairs to the home or contents must be covered by the policy. When the recommended repairs cannot be completed within the limits of the policy, the insurance company must either complete the repairs or pay up to the policy limits.
Upon completion of sinkhole stabilization and foundation repair, the insurance company must pay. In the event the repair cannot be completed within the policy limits, the insurer must either complete the repair or pay the homeowner the amount of the policy limits without subtracting the cost of work already completed.
What is the Homeowner Responsible For in a Sinkhole Claim?
Under such circumstances, the insurance company will be liable for only the building's repairs and not the repairs beneath it, such as grouting or underpinning, if the policyholder does not hire a stabilization company to make those repairs.
In order to avoid further damage, the policyholder must start stabilization and foundation repairs within 90 days after confirming the loss and notifying the homeowner. There is a possibility that this 90 day clock could be interrupted by a "neutral evaluation process."
What Part of Florida Has the Most Sinkholes?
West Central Florida has the the most sinkholes due to the karst limestone environment in addition to the weather conditions, acidic rains accompanied by drought-like conditions. This includes the counties of Pasco, Hernando, and Hillsborough -- also known as "Sinkhole Alley". This map published by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection shows where sinkholes have occurred recently -- scroll to zoom into the map and identify the areas with recent sinkhole activity. If you live in an area that is prone to sinkholes, we recommend ensuring your policy covers sinkhole-related damage right away.
Though Florida law thankfully requires that all local insurance companies that issue property insurance in the state provide coverage for damage caused by sinkholes, it’s better to be safe than sorry—especially because insurance companies occasionally use tricky language or loopholes to claim otherwise.
We strongly recommend at least consulting with an experienced, local attorney before agreeing to any settlement or signing any papers with your insurance company. Call (786) 686-5045 or contact us online now to book your free consultation to learn more.
Sinkhole Insurance Claims & How We Can Help
If sinkhole damage is likely covered under your property insurance policy, then you may be wondering what the point of involving a lawyer is. While many insurance companies do uphold their contracts when the time comes to file a claim, sadly many others do not.
Insurance companies tend to look out for their bottom line, so they may attempt to offer you a low settlement or deny your claim in the hopes that you will simply accept their decision and move on.
With a lawyer on your side, you can understand your rights and know if the insurance company is trying to offer you an unfair deal. We will assist you throughout the entire claims process and fight back if the insurer exhibits bad faith practices to protect you and your claim.
We can assist you with all phases of your sinkhole claim, including the following:
- Investigating the damage to collect evidence and build a claim
- Calculating how much the insurance company owes
- Filing your sinkhole claim on your behalf
- Getting the best repairs to fix your sinkhole damage
- Appealing a denial of your sinkhole claim
- Detailing your legal rights and options before, during, and after your sinkhole claim
Our Miami legal team always works closely with clients in order to best understand their individual needs. This tailored representation allows us to ensure that we are fighting for what’s best for the client, and we will always put you before the insurance companies and ourselves.
Our mission is to provide our Florida clients with the compensation and assistance they need following a sinkhole accident so they can back on their feet as quickly as possible.