In most cases, the only lawsuits that come out of natural disasters are those against insurance companies. However, more and more people are looking at lawsuits over sinkholes. Sinkholes are bizarre occurrences where the ground just opens up underneath you and swallows everything in sight. They are terrifying events, especially for those that are close to them or right in the middle of them. Sinkholes can also open up underwater, as is common in the marshes and swamps of Louisiana.
So, being natural disasters, what makes people think that they can sue other people over a sinkhole occurrence? Clearly, if you know that you are living in a house in an area where sinkholes are more common than any other place in the country, you should expect these things to happen, right? Well, yes, but there are multiple things that could have been done to prevent the tragic death of one Florida man, and these preventive measures were not done. Here are the specific hows and whys you can sue over a sinkhole incident.
Land Developers Failed to Do a Geological Survey of the Land
People are going to live in all kinds of dangerous places, but deaths are preventable and humans are adaptable. In "tornado alley," where tornadoes are common, people have tornado shelters they can easily access within their homes. In "sinkhole alley," which takes up a large portion of several southern states including Texas and Florida, you can have a geologist perform a geological survey of the land. With that data in hand, you can predict the possibility of a sinkhole opening up on a plot of land.
When land developers skip this step to save money, they take chances and risk the lives of the people who buy houses on this land of theirs. This is information that should be provided to home buyers so that they can choose to buy that house or move on to another property. Personal injury attorneys argue that by not performing the geological survey of the land, the land developers are guilty of negligence at the very least, and homicide at the most. So, you can sue.
Builders Build on Top of a Sinkhole
Builders who build on top of a known sinkhole are just as responsible as the land developers who own it. There are ways you can attempt to reinforce the ground so that the sinkhole underneath does not do quite so much damage, but it still puts people in jeopardy. These ground-hardening techniques may also make the effects of a sinkhole worse if and when the sinkhole does collapse. The hardened ground could buckle downward into the sinkhole, pulling all of the hardened ground with it.
Technically, there is no saying you cannot build on a sinkhole, since sinkholes that collapse are such random events. However, it is best to avoid building on them at all. People who are injured or lose possessions and their homes from sinkholes can sue the builders if the builders knew it and knew that the sinkholes under the homes were unstable.
You Suffer Injury and Loss as a Result of a Sinkhole under Your Neighbor's Property
Sinkholes are crazy things. They could open up and be no bigger than a large pothole, or they could swallow several city blocks. If you are a victim of a sinkhole that opened up under your neighbor's house and/or property, you could sue your neighbor. That may seem odd, but any other event, such as a neighbor's tree falling on your house, would constitute a lawsuit too. A personal injury lawyer does not discriminate between the two when you were hurt and/or you lost the use of your home or vehicle.
For more information, contact companies like Spooner & Perkins P.C. Attorneys at Law.