Brooksville Sinkhole Damage Insurance Lawyer
Brooksville is the county seat of Hernando County and the seat of a high number of sinkholes and ground collapses. These geological events can cause immense property damage, even destroying your home or requiring that it be torn down. This sounds like the perfect time to put your homeowner’s insurance policy to good use, but insurance companies hate sinkhole and ground collapse claims; they would rather fight your claim than pay what is due, which is often a costly amount. You have rights when it comes to enforcing the provisions of your insurance policy, and the property damage insurance attorney at the Ruel Law Firm can help you get the benefits you are entitled to. Contact our experienced Brooksville sinkhole damage lawyer today.
What Causes Sinkholes and Ground Collapses in Brooksville?
Like much of Central Florida, Brooksville sits on top of limestone bedrock covered by a thin layer of clay and sand. Limestone is porous and erodes easily due to circulating groundwater and rainfall, which soften the limestone underground. This activity creates underground pockets, caverns, crevices or cavities that get filled in with the overlying layer of sand and clay, leaving nothing behind but a hole in the ground and taking anything on the ground with it, be it a fence post, tree, shed, detached garage, or an entire house. The pressure of large and heavy structures above ground, be they roads, houses, trees, or swimming pools, increase the likelihood that the crust will collapse into the underground space created by limestone erosion. The result is a sinkhole or ground collapse.
What Is the Difference Between a Sinkhole and a Ground Collapse?
A simple definition of a sinkhole is a cavity in the ground, especially in limestone bedrock, caused by water erosion and providing a route for surface water to disappear underground. A “catastrophic ground collapse,” on the other hand, is a very specific type of event. The distinction is a legal one rather than a geological one. Florida law requires insurance companies to cover catastrophic ground collapses as part of a homeowner’s insurance policy. Sinkholes, in contrast, are typically excluded from homeowner’s policies, requiring homeowners to purchase separate sinkhole coverage as an add-on or endorsement to their homeowner’s policy or as a separate policy. A catastrophic ground collapse is defined as having all of the following characteristics:
- An abrupt or sudden ground collapse
- Leaving a depression in the ground that is visible to the naked eye without the need for instruments to measure it
- Causing structural damage to a building, property, or foundation
- Requiring an insured structure to be evacuated and condemned by government order
How Do I Know if My Property Damage Was Caused by a Sinkhole or Ground Collapse?
You might not know what caused your property damage; all you know is that your home was damaged or destroyed and requires costly repairs to fix or replace it. In fact, many of the same types of property damage – foundation settlement and concrete cracking, sticking windows and doors, cracks in the walls, water damage – could be the result of a construction defect as well as a sinkhole or ground collapse. What’s important is that your claim is covered and benefits paid. The Brooksville sinkhole and ground collapse legal team at the Ruel Law Firm is highly experienced in construction defects as well as sinkholes and ground collapse claims. We’ll investigate the damage and take action against the appropriate responsible parties. Some indications that your problem was caused by a sinkhole or ground collapse can include:
- Water stains on your walls that aren’t explained by a pipe leak or appliance leak, leaky roof or other cause
- Standing water or water pooling on the property
- Exposed tree roots that used to be underground
- Vegetation is drying out or dying
- Leaning or falling fences or trees
- The house or other structures are sinking or slanting
- Cracks in the ground
- Visible ground depressions
Contact the Ruel Law Firm Today
If you have experienced property damage but your insurance company has denied your claim, or if their settlement offer fails to compensate you for the damage you’ve incurred, a dedicated attorney at the Ruel Law Firm can help you get the benefits you need and deserve. Contact our experienced Brooksville sinkhole and ground collapse lawyer today.