A sinkhole opening up on your property can be detrimental. Depending on where it occurs and its size, a sinkhole can cause damage to your foundation or otherwise make your home unlivable. While many sinkholes are minor, opening up in the backyard and causing little-to-no property damage, others can be quite catastrophic.
In Florida, it seems that every year brings an increase in sinkholes. While the reasons for this remain unclear, one thing that is certain is that homeowners must have some sort of recourse in order to deal with the financial consequences of a sinkhole.
Do You Have Sinkhole Insurance?
When a sinkhole opens up, many homeowners will first turn to their homeowners insurance policy. In Florida, insurers are required to cover sinkhole damage. However, the amount of your policy may limit how much is covered. In addition, the sinkhole damage must be deemed “catastrophic” and thus render the home uninhabitable. For many homeowners who experience such an issue, the home remains habitable, though perhaps dangerous. Repairs necessitated by a sinkhole can also be costly.
If you aren’t a homeowner, for example, if you’re renting a home, you should check your renter’s policy or with your landlord to determine the best way to file a claim. If your landlord does not have the appropriate policy coverage and you’ve suffered large losses, it may be necessary to seek legal advice.
When faced with filing a sinkhole claim, you should consider your deductible and whether such a claim will raise your insurance rates. Some individuals dealing with sinkhole damage may find that it is actually less expensive to fix the damage themselves. For example, if a few fence posts were damaged by a sinkhole, the cost of repair may be less than the deductible. Because filing a claim can lead to increased insurance costs, it may be better to just fix the fencing.
If your vehicle is damaged because of a sinkhole, you can check with your auto insurer regarding a claim. You can also see whether your vehicle was covered under the property owner’s insurance if the damage did not occur on your own property.
Think Your Builder Was Negligent?
For homeowners who believe that a sinkhole was caused because of the negligence of a builder, there is legal recourse. If you believe that your home has sustained sinkhole damage because a builder did not do their due diligence in ensuring the site the safe to build upon, you can make a claim against the builder’s insurance policy or sue the builder. To determine the best course of action, we recommend speaking with a skilled Tampa sinkhole attorney.
Stonewalled by an Insurer?
If you’ve filled a claim and feel like you’re being given the runaround, it may be time to speak with a skilled Sinkhole lawyer.
An unscrupulous insurer may ask for extra documents, photos, or proof beyond the required; fail to answer emails, phone calls, or correspondence; lie about policy coverage or payments; or just make it exceedingly difficult to receive payment on a valid claim. When this happens, having a lawyer represent you can help speed up the process.
Some insurers may even deny valid claims. If you believe this happened to your, having a lawyer represent you during the appeals process, or if necessary, to sue the insurer, can give you a better chance of having your insurance policy finally paid out.
We all want to feel safe in our homes. A sinkhole can put an end to that safety and damage a domicile to the point of rendering it unlivable. When an insurer fails to pay out or makes the process exceedingly difficult, this is adding insult to injury. Speak to a Tampa sinkhole lawyer to start making your house feel like home again.
Injured Because of Sinkhole?
Sinkholes can happen on roadways, as well as on public and private property. Often, sinkholes open with little to no warning. This can lead to traffic accidents, falls, and other injuries. Depending on the site of the sinkhole and the extent of your injuries, you may be able to file an insurance claim in order to pay for your medical costs and any resulting bills.
If you believe your injury was sustained because of the negligence of a property owner who did not properly sign a sinkhole or who did not ensure the property was safe, you may be able to sue the property owner to recover damages.
When you are injured on someone else’s property, they may be held liable for your injuries if they are found to have been negligent in ensuring the property was safe. For example, if they missed safety inspections, failed to sign clear dangers, or failed to take actions that a reasonable property owner would be expected to take, they may be found to be responsible for any resulting injuries.
Both filing a claim against a property owner’s insurance or sue a property owner can be difficult. If you feel that is the best course of action, it’s crucial to speak to a Tampa sinkhole lawyer.
Call a Tampa Sinkhole Lawyer Today!
A trained Tampa sinkhole lawyer can help you better understand your options. They may even help provide you with options you weren’t even aware you had. In addition, they can help you determine whether you have a valid claim and assist you down whichever path you choose, whether that’s negotiating with an insurer or property owner or taking legal action against them.
At Burnett Law, we’ve helped both homeowners who have found their homes damaged by a sinkhole and individuals injured by a sinkhole find the best legal alternatives for their situations. Each case is different, and having the legal opinion of an attorney how has dealt with sinkholes can help provide you with the best insight on how to move forward.
Having a sinkhole open up on your property or being injured because of a sinkhole can be scary. Start putting your life back together with the help of Burnett Law.