Florida Insurance Blog

Florida Insurance Blog

Providing Insight Into Florida Insurance Law and Litigation

Mark A. Nation is a civil trial lawyer who limits his practice to wrongful death, personal injury, and insurance cases. He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum whose members must have settled one or...MORE

Category Archives: Sinkhole

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Sinkhole Lawsuit Filed Against Homeowner’s Insurer

Posted in Sinkhole
My client noticed cracking around the exterior of then garage, and then in her living room.  She was concerned that this may be a sinkhole so she contacted her homeowners insurer.  The homeowners insurance company retained an engineering firm (which I have seen on hundreds of sinkhole claims) and not surprisingly, the engineering firm declared that … Continue Reading

Neutral Evaluation Statue Found Constitutional

Posted in Sinkhole
In two recent decisions rendered on June 29, 2012 and on July 11, 2012, the Second DCA held that Florida Statute Section 627.7074 – the Sinkhole Neutral Evaluation Statute – was constitutional.  The two cases are entitled State Farm Florida Insurance Company v. Buitrago, ____ So.3d ____ (Fla. 2nd DCA 2012) and Sunshine State Insurance Company v. … Continue Reading

Lawsuit Filed for Sinkhole Damage

Posted in Homeowners Insurance, Sinkhole
My client recently noticed cracking in the walls and foundation of his home.  He asked his homeowners insurance company to inspect for possible sinkhole activity affecting his home.  The homeowners insurer retained an engineer and a geologist to inspect the home and perform sinkhole testing.  The insurance company’s engineer and geologist concluded that there was … Continue Reading

Lawsuit Filed Against Homeowners Insurance Company for Deficient Sinkhole Remediation Plan

Posted in Homeowners Insurance, Sinkhole
After back-to-back trials which ended last week, I’ve been quite busy meeting with new clients.  In this case, my client’s homeowners insurance company confirmed that his house was suffering from damage from sinkhole activity.  The insurance company hired an engineering firm to prepare a sinkhole remediation plan.  On its face, the remediation plan appeared deficient.  I … Continue Reading

Lawsuit filed Against Homeowners Insurer for Improper Sinkhole Repair Technique

Posted in Homeowners Insurance, Sinkhole
My client’s homeowners insurance company has confirmed that a sinkhole is damaging his home. Additionally, several of his surrounding neighbors have sustained significant sinkhole damage. The insurance company retained an engineering firm to come up with a sinkhole remediation plan. The plan suggested by the insurer’s engineering firm is inadequate in two very significant respects… Continue Reading

Attended Another Sinkhole Neutral Evaluation Today

Posted in Sinkhole
My client’s homeowner’s insurer retained the services of a geotechnical engineering firm and geologist to perform a sinkhole investigation at my client’s home.  The insurance company’s engineers and geologist wrote a report concluding that there was no sinkhole activity at the insured’s home.  However, while the engineering/geologist’s report concludes that there is no sinkhole activity, … Continue Reading

Insured Homeowner Sues Sinkhole Engineers

Posted in Sinkhole
In Alderman v. BCI Engineers & Scientists, Inc., ____ So.3d ____ (Fla. 2nd DCA Sept. 2, 2011), the insured homeowner hired BCI Engineers & Scientists, Inc. (BCI) to 1) perform a subsurface sinkhole investigation; and 2) supervise the remediation of the sinkhole activity. The insured also filed a claim with State Farm, his homeowner’s insurance company, for … Continue Reading

Sinkhole Lawsuit Filed Against USAA

Posted in Homeowners Insurance, Sinkhole
Florida Statutes currently require homeowners insurers to provide their insureds with sinkhole coverage.  The statutes define "sinkhole loss" as sinkhole activity that causes "structural damage" to a home.  Structural damage is not defined in the statute.  However, homeowners insurance company, USAA, applies a very narrow definition of "structural damage" against its policy holders.    My client has USAA, and … Continue Reading

Lawsuit Filed Against Allstate / Castle Key Over Sinkhole Remediation Plan

Posted in Sinkhole
Allstate Floridian, which is now Castle Key Insurance Company, insures my client’s luxury home.  After noticing cracks in the walls and flooring, my client asked her insurance company to perform sinkhole testing.  The insurer confirmed the existence, and proposed a remediation plan.  The remediation plan did not include underpinning.  Given the significant sinkhole activity present … Continue Reading

DO NOT Ask for a “Neutral” Evaluation in Sinkhole Claims

Posted in Sinkhole
On Monday, I took the deposition of a "neutral" evaluator in one of my sinkhole cases.  In this particular case, my client submitted a possible sinkhole claim to her homeowner’s insurance company.  The homeowner’s insurer hired engineers who did testing and stated that there was no sinkhole activity.  (A review of the engineer’s testing actually … Continue Reading

Lawsuit Filed to Determine Proper Sinkhole Remediation Plan

Posted in Sinkhole
My client’s homeowners insurer, Nationwide, confirmed the presence of sinkhole damage at his home.  However, the remediation plan proposed by the insurance company’s engineers only calls for underground grouting.  The insurance company also estimated the damage to their insured’s home (which appeared at first blush to be quite light).  I retained a geologist, engineer, and forensic … Continue Reading

Deposition of Geologist in Sinkhole Case

Posted in Homeowners Insurance, Sinkhole
My client’s home has been sinking.  She submitted a claim to her homeowner’s insurance company which sent out a geotechnical engineer and geologist to investigate the claim.  The engineer and geologist concluded that the home was sinking because of the "high organic content" in the soil, and was not due to any sinkhole activity.  Contrary to … Continue Reading

3-D Drawings in a Sinkhole Case

Posted in Homeowners Insurance, Sinkhole
Proving a sinkhole case on behalf of a policy holder depends a lot on teaching the jurors about geology, construction, and engineering.  One of the ways I do that is through 3-D drawings which I prepare in each sinkhole case.  Some examples from a recent case are set forth below.  While these images won’t move … Continue Reading

2nd DCA Rules No Presumption in Favor of Insurer Engineers in Sinkhole Cases

Posted in Homeowners Insurance, Sinkhole
In Warfel v. Universal Insurance Company of North America, ____ So.3d ____ (Fla. 2nd DCA May 12, 2010), the insured homeowner submitted a sinkhole claim to his homeowners insurer, Universal Insurance.  Universal had its own engineers examine the home and the soil under the home.  Based on a report from its engineers, Universal Insurance denied the claim.   Florida … Continue Reading

State Farm Must Pay for Subsurface Sinkhole Repairs Before Homeowners Enter into Contract for Repairs

Posted in Appraisal, Sinkhole
In State Farm Florida Insurance Company v. Nichols, ____ So.3d ____ (Fla. 5th DCA November 6, 2009), the insured homeowners submitted a claim to State Farm for sinkhole damage.  The amount of the loss was settled by appraisal.  Although the appraisal awarded an amount for subsurface sinkhole repairs, State Farm refused to pay for the … Continue Reading