New Port Richey Sinkhole Damage Insurance Lawyer
New Port Richey has the most houses and homeowners in Pasco county, and the most sinkholes as well. Sinkholes and ground collapses can swallow up a home and other structures on a property. Even when the collapse isn’t so severe, a sinkhole can still cause expensive and devastating damage. Sadly for homeowners, insurance companies don’t want to pay up when confronted with a costly sinkhole claim. They would prefer to intimidate the homeowner and bully them into giving up on their claim or accepting less in policy benefits than their claim is worth. The Ruel Law Firm doesn’t stand for this, and neither should you. Our sinkhole attorney spent 15 years defending insurance companies when they denied a homeowner’s property damage claim. He knows how insurance companies operate, including when they are denying claims that should be accepted or when they are underpaying benefits due. The Ruel Law Firm can help you get your claim accepted and ensure you are paid the benefits you are owed. Contact our experienced New Port Richey sinkhole damage lawyer today.
Sinkhole Insurance Claims Process in New Port Richey
Unless you specifically purchased a separate sinkhole policy or added it to your homeowner’s policy, you might not be covered for damage caused by a sinkhole. However, you are covered for damage caused by a “catastrophic ground collapse” as defined in Florida law. Florida insurers are required by law to include this covered event, and it’s part of the insurance you pay for. A catastrophic ground collapse is a specific event that requires the following factors to be present:
- A sudden ground collapse
- A depression in the ground that is clearly visible without needing to be measured by scientific instruments
- Structural damage to a building, foundations, or property
- An insured structure that the government orders to be evacuated and condemned
If you experience property damage that might be caused by a sinkhole or ground collapse, you’ll need to put the insurance company on notice by filing a claim and following the steps required in your policy. The insurer will send out an adjuster to inspect the property and prepare repair estimates. If a sinkhole or ground collapse is suspected, they will likely order tests conducted by a geologist or engineer. Depending on the adjuster’s report and any tests conducted (and the amount of the repair estimates), the insurance company will decide whether to accept or deny the claim.
If your claim is denied, we’ll look closely at what kind of testing was performed or if it was skipped altogether. Sometimes the insurance company’s “testing” is little more than a drive-by inspection of the property. If their testing was inappropriate, insufficient, or not conducted by professionals according to industry standards, we’ll challenge them on these grounds. Our New Port Richey sinkhole legal team will get our own experts and conduct our own testing if necessary to dispute the insurance company’s denial and prove the cause of the damage.
Signs Your New Port Richey Property Damage Was Caused by a Sinkhole
Many of the problems that occur with a house can be due to construction defects instead of sinkhole collapses. These problems include stuck windows and doors, foundation and concrete settlement and cracking, and stucco defects. Ruel Law Firm attorney Michael Ruel is highly experienced in property damage claims arising from sinkholes as well as construction defects and is equally capable of handling either type of claim. Signs your property damage might be caused by a sinkhole include:
- The ground has started to splinter, or you see depressions or holes in the ground
- Tree roots that used to be hidden underground are now exposed
- Trees, fences, or structures on the property are starting to slant, lean, fall over or sink into the ground
- You hear unexplained loud noises coming from the property
- You see water pooling on the property or notice unexplained water stains or standing water
- Cracks in the foundation, as well as exterior and interior walls, swimming pool decks, ceilings, floors, driveways or porches
Contact the Ruel Law Firm Today
If you experience property damage allegedly caused by a sinkhole or ground collapse but the insurance refuses to accept your claim or cover your damages adequately, the Ruel Law Firm can help you prove the facts of your claim and get you the insurance benefits you need and deserve. Call our experienced New Port Richey sinkhole lawyer today.