We’re almost at the end of another humid Florida summer, and that means hurricane season. It’s a time to think about picking up emergency supplies and making sure everyone in the family is safe. While insurance companies refer to hurricane injuries as “acts of God,” hurricanes – and the tropical storms we see more frequently – also create opportunities for injuries caused by the negligent actions of other people.

If a big storm does come our way in south Florida, a number of developments have created some vulnerabilities and concerns. The first concern is inexperience. After almost a decade without hurricanes, the population here has radically changed; it’s estimated that probably a million people currently in south Florida have never experienced a hurricane. Until recently, everyone in Florida knew exactly what to do as a hurricane approached for one simple reason: it was the same thing they did last year, and the same thing they did every year before that, with very few exceptions. Even long-time residents can grow complacent after this many years. It’s one of the risks of living in paradise. But it’s only a matter of time until a hurricane again strikes south Florida, and smart Floridians – especially if they have children – always make basic advance preparations.

If you’re injured in south Florida because of someone else’s negligence, speak immediately with an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorney. When another person’s negligence is the cause of your injury, you have the right to be reimbursed for your medical treatment and related expenses. Below, some hurricane safety and preparedness tips:

  • Seal important documents (such as passports, insurance policies, tax papers, and wills) in plastic bags or in a waterproof box.
  • Have flashlight batteries, garbage bags, and kerosene lanterns available. Avoid candles due to the fire hazard.
  • Have an old-fashioned manual can opener, and consider buying a camp stove for cooking without electricity.
  • Make sure your home’s first-aid kit is comprehensive.
  • If you have a baby, have plenty of of disposable diapers, formula, and needed medicines.
  • Keep nearby trees trimmed so that branches don’t become missiles.

If forecasters predict that a hurricane or tropical storm is imminent, fill your gas tank and get cash from your ATM. Gas pumps and ATMs may not work for days after a big storm. Turn your refrigerator to its coldest setting. Fill the bathtub and plan to be without water; emergency planners say you should store one gallon of drinking water per person, per day, and plan to be without water for up to a week. Make sure there is enough food and water for pets too. Tie down anything that can’t be brought inside.

The highways are packed in the hours before a big storm hits, and this increases your chance of being injured by another driver’s negligence. Supermarkets and home improvement stores are also packed, with plenty of opportunities to be injured by panicked shoppers, accumulated rainwater, and hastily-displayed merchandise. In a south Florida hurricane or tropical storm, if you’re injured because another person has been negligent, discuss your case immediately with an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorney.