Were you affected by the Palm Beach Gardens tornado on April 29, 2023?

In the Aftermath of Hurricane Ian, has your settlement exceeded the 90-day threshold?
Klotzman Property Damage is Available 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week to Help in Your Time of Crisis.

5 Things You Need to Know About Sinkholes

Have you ever imagined the ground beneath your feet suddenly disappearing, leaving a gaping hole? That’s the frightening reality of sinkholes. In this article, we explore five things you need to know about sinkholes.

If your property has been damaged by a sinkhole, call our Hollywood property damage attorneys today.

1. How Do Sinkholes Form?

When rainfall permeates or infiltrates into the soil, it assimilates carbon dioxide and combines with decaying organic matter, resulting in the formation of mildly acidic water. This water percolates through the subterranean spaces and fissures, gradually eroding limestone and forming an interconnected system of hollow spaces.

With the dissolution of limestone, the pores and crevices are expanded, enabling the flow of even more acidic water. Sinkholes exist when the earth’s surface above them collapses or descends into these cavities, or when surface substances are carried downwards into the voids.

2. Common Causes of Sinkholes in Florida

Various contributing factors make Florida vulnerable to sinkholes, which is a significant concern for residents. One of the main reasons for the abundance of wetlands in Florida is its underlying limestone base.

This type of rock is highly vulnerable to water erosion and dissolution, resulting in various wetlands across the state. Due to the tropical climate, there is a much higher likelihood of sinkholes forming as rainfall causes the limestone to dissolve.

3. Common Types of Sinkholes

Sinkhole formation comes in a variety of ways, the most common are:

Sinkholes Near Structures, Stairs, or Walkways

They present themselves near a structure’s external walls or underneath outdoor staircases and are more likely caused by back-fill soil that wasn’t packed correctly. This can lead to the soil’s gradual settling over a few years, creating a dip or hollow in the ground.

Sinkholes Under Sidewalks

These may appear under walkways and cause uneven concrete slabs which can be a potential tripping hazard.

Sinkholes From Large Debris in the Yard

Poorly maintained yards can lead to sinkholes and are often caused by buried or rotting debris, tree stumps that have not been removed, or large rocks placed in the yard fill.

Sinkholes Near Buried Drainage Pipes, Water, or Sewer Lines

This is often the result of improper compaction of soil or a leaking pipe near buried stormwater, drinking water, or wastewater line. It can happen due to uncontrolled runoff, improper drainage, and excess water pressure in the underground pipes.

Old Wells and Utilities

This uncommon and hazardous situation arises when utilities are not maintained and become dilapidated. Ultimately, there is a risk of them caving in, leading to the formation of sinkholes.

Underground Flow

If there is a sewer or water pipe leak, the water is likely from an underground spring that is uphill from the depression. The ground surface will then settle into the cavity causing the depression.

Deep sinkhole on a street city and orange traffic cones

4. Identifying the Signs of a Sinkhole in Your Property

If you want to know if there is a sinkhole in your home, you should regularly inspect your house and property for signs of sinkholes.

Signs of Structural Damage in Your Home

One potential indication of this is the presence of cracks, both on the walls inside and outside your home. These cracks may appear in a variety of shapes and sizes and can vary in severity, but they are all indicative of some kind of structural issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Uneven or Slanting Floors in Your Home

These can be caused by various issues, such as foundation settlement, changes in moisture levels, and even improper installations. Diagnosing the cause of the unevenness is important to ensure any necessary corrective measures are taken.

Cloudy or Murky Water in Your Toilet, Shower, or Tapwater

Cloudy or murky water coming to your toilet, shower, or tap means there is an issue with the water quality. This could be caused by various factors including the possible formation of a sinkhole.


Cracks in the shape of circles around your house or building can be indicative of structural problems which should not be ignored as they could get worse over time. Make sure to have them inspected by a professional to ensure safety and stability.

5. Will My Insurance Cover the Damage?

If your insurance policy doesn’t specifically rule out acts of God (this includes sinkholes), you may be able to convince the insurer to pay your claim.

Unless the contract clearly states that certain types of damages are covered, chances are your claim may be rejected. It is important to read and understand the terms before signing any contract. Consulting an accomplished legal professional can be beneficial in understanding the coverage of your insurance and exploring the available options.

By understanding the causes, warning signs, and types of sinkholes, you can be better prepared to protect yourself and your property from the potentially devastating effects of these natural phenomena.

Speak to Our Property Damage Lawyers Today

If your property suffered damage due to a sinkhole and you need to file a claim with your insurance, consulting a property damage lawyer might work to your advantage. Here at Klotzman Property Damage Law, we advocate for fair compensation so you can properly restore and repair any damage.

Schedule your free case review today with a Florida property damage attorney. When insurance companies fail, Klotzman Property Damage Law succeeds.

Read More Related Articles