The earth opened up a swallowed your car? That may sound crazy to some. Nonetheless, sinkholes are increasingly responsible for damage, injury and death in this country and elsewhere. If you fall victim to a sinkhole, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you recoup damages.
What Causes Sinkholes?
Subterranean areas that are unable to drain properly are susceptible to sinkholes as water builds up, slowly dissolving rock and carving caverns that ultimately are unable to sustain weight above ground. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey reports that roughly one-fifth of the country may be prone to sinkholes. And Florida, unfortunately, is one of the states in which they are the most common.
Although it takes some time for one to develop, a sinkhole can create havoc almost instantly when conditions are right. Golfer Mark Mihal can attest to the sudden danger posed by sinkholes. In 2013 a casual day on the golf course turned into a 20-minute effort to hoist Mihal from a huge hole that suddenly appeared on the course. In this case, only minor injuries occurred. But that is not always the case with sinkholes.
Worldwide, Sinkholes have Serious Consequences
Real sinkholes have caused real damage and loss of life across the globe:
- A 2016 sinkhole in San Antonio injured two and killed one person after two vehicles fell into the hole;
- A 2013 sinkhole that measured 30 feet across swallowed the bedroom of a Florida home, leading to the death of Jeff Bush.
- A 2011 sinkhole on a highway in Utah devoured the car in which a 15-year-old girl was traveling, leading to her death.
- A 2010 sinkhole in Guatemala engulfed a three-story building, killing 15 people.
Who is Responsible for Damages in a Sinkhole Incident?
If you are involved in an auto accident caused by the sudden emergence of a sinkhole, your collision insurance should cover damages to your vehicle, in that your vehicle would have collided with the earth and concrete that was torn asunder by the hole. If you have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage or med-pay, your injuries should be taken care of as well.
If your car was parked and a sinkhole opened up and swallowed it, your comprehensive insurance would kick in.
Some policies require specific coverage relating to sinkholes, while others do not. It is important that consumers are aware of their own coverage, and get legal help in the event the insurance company balks at paying.
Don’t let a Sinkhole Bankrupt You
In the event that a sinkhole results in serious injury or damage, you want an attorney on your side who is experienced in personal injury law and is well acquainted with the tactics insurance companies employ to avoid payouts. The legal team at The Law Offices of Robert W. Elton knows how to maneuver through the roadblocks and red tape you’re destined to encounter. Contact us today in Daytona & Ormond Beach for a free, confidential consultation.