Massive Sinkhole Causes Damage In Pasco County
Early Friday morning, residents of a Land O’ Lakes neighborhood in Pasco County reported a depression forming in the ground. By mid-afternoon, that depression was a monstrous sinkhole. It expanded to over 200 feet and potentially going as far down as 50 feet into the ground. The hole destroyed two houses and a boat, and left 11 other homes in the area in unstable condition.
It seems like sinkholes often cause damage and chaos in Florida. Last year, a sinkhole at a fertilizer plant dumped thousands of pounds of toxic waste into the local water supply in Polk County, leading to a class action lawsuit. In 2013, a Seffner man was swallowed by a sinkhole that formed underneath his house.
Sinkhole Warning Signs
A sinkhole is a depression or hole that forms when the surface layer of the earth collapses. They are usually caused by the chemical dissolution of carbonated rock. Sinkholes can also be triggered by human behavior, like mining or groundwater excavation.
While some sinkholes do dramatically and suddenly appear, many others form gradually. When a property is above a gradually-forming sinkhole, some warning signs can include:
- Slumping, sagging, or slanting of fences, trees, or other objects in the area
- Cracks in walls, floors, pavement, and ground surfaces
- Wilting of small, circular areas of vegetation
- Doors and windows failing to close properly
The idea of a gaping hole in the earth is horrifying. However, deaths and injuries are incredibly rare. However, they can cause extreme damage, and leave people displaced from their homes.
Since sinkholes are (generally) an act of nature, it is difficult to hold someone liable. In some cases, a sinkhole may fall under the issue of premise liability. If a property owner had any of the warning signs listed above, or had received warning about the eminent possibility of a sinkhole, but failed to warn guests or visitors about the potential danger. In this case, they could potentially be liable for neglecting to mention the danger.
Similarly, if a certain group engaged in an activity that was likely to lead to a sinkhole, like mining, they could also be held liable for some of the damage.
The sinkhole in Pasco County is certainly frightening! Hopefully, it serves as a warning to all Floridians to look out for the warnings signs of this dramatic act of nature.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.