The Sunshine State is known for many things – beautiful beaches, warm weather, plenty of sunshine, and hurricanes. When a hurricane hits the state, it can result in serious damage, injuries, fatalities, and years of rebuilding.
While a hurricane is considered an “act of God” regarding insurance claims, it may raise some other questions. For example, if you are injured during the hurricane, and someone else’s negligence is involved in some way, can you file a personal injury lawsuit? One of the best ways to find the answer to this question is by hiring lawyers in Daytona Beach. You can also find more information about it here.
When dealing with hurricanes, preparedness is crucial. While most Florida residents realize this, you may not realize that it’s possible to file a personal injury claim and recover compensation in some situations. However, you must prove that another person’s negligence or recklessness caused the damages or injuries to do this. While this can be challenging, it is not impossible.
Context is Crucial
When discussing meteorological events like hurricanes, you can do a few things to prepare. The issues that can arise from this type of crisis can be extensive.
If winds are strong enough, buildings that are designed to stand up to a category four hurricane may collapse when a category five storm hits. In these situations, parts of the building may be lost. The same applies to gale-force winds that can take parts of your home miles away from where it started. Unfortunately, if you attempt to “weather the storm,” there is minimal legal recourse.
In these situations, this is truly an “act of God.” There’s no way to predict that your vehicle, home, or other property will be damaged or lost. The random weather and unpredictability of hurricanes make it impossible to hold another person accountable for your damages and injuries.
Even though this is true, there are always exceptions. For example, some situations are preventable – even when a hurricane hits the area.
One example would be a premises liability situation. The property owner where the fall occurred may be held liable in these cases. Even under hurricane conditions, negligent actions by other people can cause injuries. In these situations, you may be able to file a lawsuit with the help of a Daytona Beach personal injury lawyer.
Storms Aren’t an Excuse for Negligence
It’s worth noting that both homes and businesses can be damaged in hurricane conditions.
Residential Property Damage and Injuries
An obvious example of negligence is if your neighbor has a tree on their property that has been dead for a while. A dead tree will begin to erode as time passes, and as this occurs, possible hazards will be created. This includes tree splitting, branches falling, and other issues. If your neighbor does not remove the tree, and it falls during a hurricane damaging your person or property, it may be possible to hold them responsible for the damages and your injuries.
Commercial Property Damage and Injuries
If you own a business or own commercial property, it will be treated like personal property. According to Florida law, property owners must take steps to protect those who are invited to or visiting their property. This is true even in hurricane conditions.
For injuries, it may be necessary for the at-fault party to cover medical costs or lost wages for that individual.
A visitor is someone who has implied permission to be on your property. An invitee is present after the owner has invited them there. If either situation arises due to an injury because hurricane conditions exposed improper maintenance, upkeep, and building construction, then invitees and visitors have the right to take the at-fault business or property owner to court to recover compensation.
While this is true, it’s still important that you speak to an attorney about your rights and options. This is the only way to know what you are entitled to.
Damage to Rental Property
If you rent a house or apartment, the manager or owner has specific obligations they must uphold. Just as a business owner would, the tenants must be provided a safe location that is also up to code.
If damages or hazards are present, they need to be reported immediately. When a hurricane hits the area, the damages are often more dangerous than in traditional situations.
Compensation may be possible for residents who report the issue but are ignored, the problems are not addressed, and injuries occur during the hurricane because of it. These cases can be complex, and many components go into building a case, which is why working with an experienced attorney is recommended.
Dealing with Other Injuries Caused During Hurricane Conditions
Other situations can cause damage and personal injuries in hurricane conditions. Understanding your rights in these situations is also helpful, as it will help you determine if you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit.
When preparing for a hurricane, you may opt to have protective elements installed on your home. One of the most common protective elements for Florida residents is storm shutters.
If you purchase these shutters and hire professionals to install them, you expect they will protect your windows (and those inside) from serious damage.
There are situations when there’s nothing that will provide protection from hurricane conditions. In this situation, the shutters (or other preparations you have made) may not be able to prevent damage. While this is true, there are other situations where the protections just don’t live up to the guarantees that have been made.
For example, if a tree falls on your house, there is little that hurricane shutters can do to prevent this type of damage. On the other hand, they should effectively protect your home’s windows from heavy rain, strong winds, and small debris. If these conditions cause damage to the shutters or windows, it may be because of improper installation or poor-quality construction.
If the failure of the shutters results in some type of injury to you or someone in your home in these situations or significant property damage, then it may be possible to recover compensation from the installer, manufacturer, and in some cases, both.
As mentioned above, business and property owners are responsible for ensuring visitors and tenants are safe. They should also provide warnings of potential hazards.
For hurricane situations, a property owner must ensure the location is prepared for the storm. This includes closing gas lines and removing items that may be turned into flying projectiles during heavy winds.
Another important element is claiming that a building is a hurricane shelter if it really isn’t. An official shelter includes schools, churches, and community centers that meet set standards and help keep people safe. However, property owners and businesses can tell people to seek shelter inside their buildings. If this is done, and the building can’t protect those inside, and someone is injured due to hurricane conditions, then the property owner may be responsible for the injuries and damages.
Neglect During Cleanup
Once the hurricane has moved through the area, property owners are the ones who must clean up their property. This includes getting rid of the debris the hurricane left behind. Sometimes, this may require them to use insurance companies or government resources; however, in the end, cleanup is the responsibility of the property owner.
Failing to clean up a property after a hurricane may result in lawsuits in several ways. For example, broken walls, fallen branches, and other debris can create safety hazards for those using or on the property. If bodily harm occurs because of the debris, then the property owner may be considered liable for the damages. Sometimes, if debris isn’t cleaned up for extended periods of time after a hurricane, decay may begin. This can cause infestations, which spread diseases. If the decay and infestations result in injuries to tenants or neighbors, it can give them grounds to file a lawsuit against the property owner.
Dealing with the Aftermath of a Hurricane and Personal Injuries
Unfortunately, there are many ways that someone may be injured or experience property damage after a hurricane. While many Florida residents are accustomed to these types of weather events, it doesn’t mean that injuries can’t or won’t occur.
In the situations described above, it may be possible to recover compensation for the damages or injuries suffered. However, because these cases can be complex, it is recommended that you consult with a personal injury attorney. At Zimmet & Zimmet, we have years of experience representing Florida residents in accident claim cases. Regardless of if your injuries occurred before, during, or after a hurricane, if the negligence of another party caused them, we could help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Our legal team brings a lot to the table to help you win your personal injury case. For example, we can investigate the cause of your injury or property damage and collect evidence that shows why you deserve compensation. We can also provide advice and guidance regarding how to pursue a personal injury claim and how to negotiate to ensure the maximum amount of compensation is received.
With our help, you can feel confident that you will have the best chance of recovering the damages you deserve for your injuries.
Hurricanes are devastating in many situations to Florida residents. They can destroy homes, businesses, and all types of property. While there are many situations where the damage and injuries that occur are not the results of anyone’s negligence, this is not always the case.
If you believe you have grounds to file a personal injury claim against another party or person after a hurricane, contact our law offices to schedule a free consultation. At Zimmet & Zimmet, you can count on our legal team to provide you with the high-quality legal services and results you are searching for.