15 Foot Wide Sinkhole Opens on Florida’s I-4

15 Foot Wide Sinkhole Opens on Florida’s I-4Authorities had to close an exit ramp of Interstate 4 yesterday afternoon due to a 15-foot wide sinkhole that opened up during rush hour. The exit was in Orange County approximately 9 miles from Orlando. To see an image of the damage, click here. Orange County Fire Rescue received several calls Monday afternoon, saying the hole was “rapidly expanding.” Officials have not yet determined what suddenly caused this sinkhole to open.

Where do sinkholes form and are certain areas more susceptible than others?

In general, areas where limestone is close to the surface, or areas with deeper limestone but with a certain level of water elevation, or with certain rock layer characteristics have increased sinkhole activity. Sinkholes are very common in Florida, due to the fact that the state sits on a bed of limestone. Sinkholes form in areas where water flows underground and has dissolved rock (limestone) which creates a large void where surface sediment collects and eventually collapses, according to the Florida Sinkhole Research Institute. This can occur in an open piece of land, someone’s property beneath their home, or a road, such as what occurred yesterday.

Central Florida is particularly known for sinkholes and is part of Florida’s “Sinkhole Alley,” where the majority of insurance claims for sinkhole damage occur. Other places that frequently see sinkholes include Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

For more information on common causes of sinkholes and signs you should look out for, visit our Tampa Sinkhole Lawyers page. If you have concerns related to sinkhole formation on your property, contact TJ Grimaldi.

What Causes Florida Sinkholes?

sinkholesWhat exactly causes sinkholes to form? It’s a question that has been on the minds of many in the Tampa Bay area, especially after news that a sinkhole that swallowed a man in his Seffner home in 2013 recently reopened.

According to experts, thousands of sinkholes form in Florida each year due to highly porous limestone the state sits upon as well as extreme weather and aquifer pumping. They tend to form in areas where underground water flows and dissolves the rock over time, and can vary in size between 1 and 600 meters. Many natural sinkholes cannot be avoided, while those caused from human activity like cutting of trees with the help of tree removal sarasota fl etc,may be a different story.

Human activities that may trigger sinkholes include the following:

  • Removal of too much groundwater in an area
  • Creation of artificial ponds
  • Drilling of water wells
  • Concentrating surface water from a large area to a much smaller one

What are the warning signs you should look out for to determine whether a sinkhole is forming on your Tampa property?

  • Fences, trees or other objects that appear to sag or slant. Outback Fencing can prevent your garden. Or, to know what other options that are available, make a call to the Landscaping specialists in Marietta, GA, who will come in person to see and will suggest accordingly. To remove trees you can check the article here.
  • Doors and windows fail to close properly
  • Wilted vegetation that appears in small, circular areas due to water draining into the sinkhole
  • Small ponds of rainwater forming in areas where it did not collect before
  • Structural cracks in walls, floors or pavement

Sinkholes can be dangerous and can lead to the destruction of your home and/or property. If you are concerned that a sinkhole is forming on or near your property, the attorneys at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi and Guito, P.A. can help. If you would like to discuss the options available to you to keep you and your family safe from Florida sinkholes, contact TJ Grimaldi today.

Florida sinkholes: Insurance changes frustrating for homeowners

Sinkhole damage continues to make headlines in Florida. Even just recently guests were quickly evacuated from a resort near Walt Disney World after a sinkhole opened up and two buildings partially collapsed.
But, while damage like that done to Lake County’s Summer Bay resort will most likely be covered by insurance, many homeowners in Florida are not as lucky. This is due to insurance changes that were made last year.
Last year the Florida legislature approved sweeping changes to the way insurance companies handle sinkholes. The law was changed in response to adjusters and contractors who were taking advantage of the system. However, while intended to stop the ongoing abuse of coverage, the changes ended up hurting homeowners who have significant sinkhole damage to their homes and need repairs.

According to a WFTV news report, only catastrophic collapse is now fully covered. This means the ground must abruptly collapse, there must be structural damage to the property and the property must be condemned in order for the sinkhole damage to be fully covered. What this means is that even though a sinkhole may cause significant damage, an insurance company may still deny a claim.

What these changes mean to Florida homeowners

The realization of what these insurance changes mean to the average Florida homeowner may be alarming at first, especially considering the fact that sinkholes are rather common in the state.
Sinkholes can naturally develop over time as the limestone underground dissolves. This means that while there may be signs of sinkhole activity, including cracks in the foundation, doors or windows that will not close and cracks in the wall, a homeowner may not realize there is a problem until there is significant damage. Even with this damage though, an insurance company may still try and deny a claim. You can check my company for quality window treatments.

This is where an attorney with experience handling Florida sinkhole denied claims can step in. For a homeowner with a denied claim, after talking with an attorney, it may be determined filing a lawsuit against the insurance company is the best way to go. This can end up resulting in compensation, which can then go toward the damage caused by the sinkhole.

In the end, homeowners should not feel bad about contacting an attorney. After all, a homeowner pays for their insurance month after month thinking that if it is needed, the money will be there. This is why it can be particularly frustrating when a legitimate claim is denied.

Source: wftv.com, “Action 9 breaks down Florida sinkhole insurance coverage”, Aug. 12, 2013