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Arizona Sinkholes: What Can Happen, and Where

By Breyer Law Offices on August 6, 2018

While Arizona sinkholes are rare, they are not unheard of. They have caused fatalities, car crashes, and serious injuries. They can open up at a moment’s notice and take everyone by surprise, and it’s often difficult to figure out where they’ll be. In 2016, one man lost his life after stopping his truck, opening his tailgate, and then being swallowed by a sinkhole that was around 18 feet deep. When authorities arrived, his truck engine was still idling and his tools were on the ground. The sinkhole that he fell into had rapidly filled with water, and he couldn’t escape.

What Causes Sinkholes?

Heavy rainfall usually causes the ground to weaken and shift, partly due to erosion on top of the ground as well as drainage underneath the ground. Arizona contains a lot of ground that is made up of softer sands and rocks like sandstone, shale, siltstone, and limestone — which can easily be swept away by circulating water. When this happens, caverns form where we can’t see them, waiting to open up at the slightest pressure. Mining activity can also increase the presence of sinkholes.

Sinkholes can range from a couple of inches to several hundred feet. They can cause buildings to tilt, or they can swallow cars and buildings whole. While not all sinkholes are readily apparent, some can be predicted. Here are some signs to look for that a sinkhole might be forming:

• cracks in the walls and foundations of buildings near or on a sinkhole
• cracks in the sidewalk or asphalt around a sinkhole
• slight dips in the ground
• leaning buildings, fences and trees
• doors and windows that suddenly are difficult to open or close (shifting jambs)

Injuries from Sinkholes

Sinkholes can cause a number of different type of injuries, and can cause fatalities too. If a person is caught in a sinkhole while driving, he or she will experience injuries similar to those sustained in a car accident. They could also drown if the sinkhole fills with water and they are not able to escape their car. Sinkholes can cause back and neck injuries, broken bones, concussions, sprains, and much more.

Sinkholes can also cause very expensive property damage to vehicles, houses and office buildings. When the ground gives way, cars and buildings can collapse into the hole.

If you were injured in a sinkhole, contact The Husband and Wife Law Team immediately. Our Phoenix personal injury lawyers will review your case and determine whether someone else may be responsible for your injuries.

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