Living near a rock quarry in Florida that regularly blasts limestone out of the earth is certainly a nuisance, but is it also damaging your home? Can you feel the effects of blasting while inside your home? Do you have cracks in the walls, foundation or roof? If you can feel the the effects of blasting, then, over time, the blasts are strong enough to damage your home.
Homeowners have had to pay to repair these cracks themselves, because insurance companies are denying claims related to quarry blasting damage. Additionally, the quarry companies claim they’re blasting within Florida’s legal limit and deny any liability for structural damage to nearby homes.
Because of a 2017 change to the Florida building code that placed a greater importance on seismic loads, however, insurance companies should not be denying claims related to quarry blasting damage. They are denying claims because they probably think they can get away with it, and that you’ll be intimidated by long and complicated engineering reports that say the damage was not caused by blasting.
At Morgan & Morgan, we know better, and may be able to get your insurance company to cover all the repair costs related to structural damage caused by quarry blasting. Additionally, your insurer may also have to pay for structural improvements to your home that will prevent further damage from ongoing blasting.
What If I’ve Already Been Denied?
Most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for cracking damage caused by blasting. If you believe your home has been damaged as a result of blasting, then contact us for a free evaluation.
IMPORTANTLY, even if your insurance company has already denied your claim, let us review that denial for free. If your insurance company is right, we will tell you. But, if they are wrong, we will let you know that, and what we can do to help.
Do not be intimidated by a denial. Even if your insurance company had your home inspected by an engineer who said the blasting did not cause your damage, let us review your case for free. Many times, we are able to use that same engineering report against the insurance company.
If there was only one thing we could get across to you it would be that “no” is not the end of the inquiry. It’s just the beginning. In fact, every case we’ve ever won all have one thing in common. They all started with “no.”
The best part is that there are no out of pocket expenses or costs to you. In most of our insurance cases, if we win, the insurance company must pay all of our attorneys’ fees and costs. If we lose, we will work for free.
What Is a Rock Quarry?
Rock quarries extract minerals such as limestone from the earth by drilling strategically placed holes in the ground filled with explosives. When the explosives are detonated, large chunks of rock break off. The rock is then crushed into smaller pieces for use in various construction projects, such as building homes, highways, and parking lots.
Each blast sends a tremendous amount of force through the earth and through the air. The cumulative effect of repeated blasts can cause substantial and expensive damage to homes and businesses.
In Florida, rock quarry mining is a billion-dollar business. In Miami-Dade county alone there are at least nine quarries with active blasting permits, with the largest concentration found in the northwest part of the county, known as the “Lake Belt” region. Quarry mining is so prolific in the Lake Belt region that it produces nearly half of the 153 million tons of limestone Florida uses annually, according to a report in the Miami Herald.
Rock quarries have operated in Florida for a long time, and neighborhoods that are now experiencing issues with quarry blasting may not have existed when the local quarry began mining operations. Now, there are some homes located less than 1,000 feet from some quarries, and homeowners can feel blast shock waves traveling through their bodies and rattling their homes.
But, you don’t have to be that close to sustain significant damage. Homes and businesses can be damaged even if they are miles away from the blast sites. The explosives used to blast rock aren’t supposed to be strong enough to damage surrounding properties, but people living near quarries all over Florida disagree.
Are You in the Danger Zone?
All quarries in Florida must adhere to the blasting limits set by the Division of State Fire Marshal. If a quarry’s blasting exceeds these limits, the State Fire Marshal has the authority to impose penalties. To ensure compliance, every rock quarry is monitored by a seismograph — an instrument that measures ground vibrations.
The State Fire Marshal and all the quarries in Florida say blasting is not the cause of damage to nearby homes as long as the quarries blast within the legal limit. The State Fire Marshal even commissioned a study of six Florida quarries in February 2018 to determine if the state’s blasting limits were too high and possibly damaging nearby structures.
The report concluded that blasting vibrations at the six quarries apart of the study were “outside of any range that could damage or settle residential structures, regardless of frequency content,” and that the state’s current blasting limits are “appropriate to protect residential structures.” However, that is not the whole story.
Insurance companies may try and use this report and others like it to deny valid claims, but don’t be intimidated. This report and many like it fail to take into account the blasting’s cyclical nature and its cumulative effect. As a result, the insurance company may still be liable for the blasting damage, and we may even be able to use the State Fire Marshal’s report and others like it against the insurance company.
Can I Receive Compensation if Quarry Blasting Damaged My Home?
Homeowners living near quarries all over Florida have complained about the structural damage to their homes for years, but homeowners in South Florida have had it particularly bad.
While we may be able to help any homeowner with an insurance policy, has cracking damage, and can feel the effects of blasting at their home. We know homes located near the following quarries in the following zip codes have been damaged.
2 FEC Quarry:
White Rock Quarry:
Lake 6 Quarry:
Atlantic Civil / SDI Quarry:
Contact us today to learn more about how we may be able to get your insurer to cover the costs related to quarry blasting damage and the costs related to making structural improvements that would prevent further damage from ongoing blasting.
We work on a contingency-fee basis, so there is no up-front cost to you, and you only pay us if we win your case. In fact, in most of our cases, if we win, the insurance company must pay all of our attorneys’ fees and costs. If we lose, we will work for free.