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My house is falling apart, do I have a sinkhole?

This is another commonly asked question by homeowners seeking a Tampa insurance dispute attorney. It is not secret the Tampa area is dominated by sinkholes, especially the areas surrounding New Port Richey, Brooksville, Ocala and Crystal River. Sinkholes have literally spread across Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Citrus and Hernando counties.

Generally, these cases involve homeowners’ making a claim for sinkhole damage at their residence. Their insurance carrier deploys a field adjuster, either employed by the insurance company or a third party, to investigate the damages. Later due to Florida Statutes concerning sinkholes, your carrier will eventually retain a geotechnical firm, generally a company they use regularly, to investigate the residence. More than likely, your carrier will then exclude the claim for a number of reasons including organic soils, normal settling, loose surface sands or attributing the damage to the residence to poor manufacturing or maintenance referencing a number of provisions of your insurance policy.

Additionally, your carrier is required to notify you of the neutral evaluation process. A process mandated by the Florida Legislature, neutral evaluation involves a professional engineer or geologist “analyzing” the competing sinkhole reports prepared by your insurance company and your own, if you have retained an expert. Prior than attending the neutral evaluation conference on your own, contact the insurance dispute attorneys of Hackworth Law to assist you during the neutral conference. We have extensive experience with the neutral evaluators approved by the Department of Financial Services and will work aggressively to get you the most fair and impartial neutral evaluator available.

The property attorneys of Hackworth Law have unique experience in sinkhole litigation as property attorney, Jon Hackworth, has had the chance to personally observe multiple geotechnical firms actually conduct sinkhole testing at homeowners’ residence. This is critical as it gives the property claim attorneys of Hackworth Law the experience and knowledge to challenge your insurance company’s report not just on their opinion and report, but their testing methodologies. Most importantly, our property claim attorneys will be able to challenge the results of the standard penetration test boring results of your carrier’s expert, when they fail to comply with the American Society for Testing and Materials (“ASTM”). We have also had experience analyzing the results of ground penetrating radar, cone penetrometer testing, multichannel analysis of sound wave testing, hand auger borings and other common testing methods.

While the Florida Legislature wants to assist insurance companies in denying more and more claims, the Florida property insurance dispute attorneys of Hackworth Law are here to help with your claim. Before accepting your insurance company’s version of the truth, contact the attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free consultation to assist you in your sinkhole claims. While your insurance company cares about profits and proceeds, we care about you and getting you back in your house as soon as possible.

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