Stuart, FL , June 26, 2012 –South Florida injury lawyer Philip DeBerard, III, today urged South Florida and Treasure Coast residents to take the danger of hurricanes seriously as the 2012 hurricane season gets underway.

“Hurricanes are powerful, dangerous and ultimately unpredictable,” said DeBerard, of the South Florida law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney. “The only safe response to a hurricane is to get out of its way. If a hurricane is coming, you need to leave.”

Hurricane season began this month and extends through November 1. Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expect nine to 15 named tropical storms to form. They say four to eight of them will grow into hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or stronger), and one to three will become major hurricanes with winds faster than 111 mph.

DeBerard cited the work of Florida State University professor Jay Baker, who has spent almost 40 years questioning people about their experiences with hurricanes. Baker recently told the Associated Press that people underestimate the power of storms.

“When you ask people ‘Why didn’t you leave?’ the most common reason is they didn’t think they needed to,” Baker told The AP.

DeBerard, who has three decades of legal experience helping Florida families and individuals overcome serious accidents and injuries caused by others’ negligence, said people all across Florida should prepare ahead of time and be ready to flee when a hurricane threatens.

He said people should follow hurricane evacuation tips provided by the Florida Department of Transportation:

  • Know your evacuation routes.
  • Before leaving, fill your vehicle with fuel.
  • Take bottled water with you, and at least 72 hours’ worth of food (non-perishable foods and limited salty foods).
  • Pack medications.
  • Expect traffic during evacuations to be slow moving.
  • Use service areas and rest areas for brief stops.
  • Disabled vehicles or those that have been involved in crashes should wait for emergency responders away from traffic if possible.

DeBerard said homeowners and business owners should also prepare by ensuring they understand their insurance policies and their coverage for wind, water, mold, mud and other damages.

“People need to protect themselves by knowing their policies,” he said. “Insurance companies don’t make money by paying claims. Some will resist paying a damage claim by rejecting it on a technicality or an obscure reading of the policy. They may try to pay less than full value for a claim.”

The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney assists Floridians with hurricane damage claim disputes and pursues personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of individuals who have been seriously injured in accidents.

“We believe in treating hurricanes seriously before they strike,” DeBerard said, “and we also take seriously the rights of those who are hurt by others through no fault of their own.”

About Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney

The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, has provided professional and compassionate legal assistance to personal injury and accident victims in South Florida on the Treasure Coast since 1975. The firm’s office is located at 215 Southwest Federal Hwy., Suite 300, Stuart, FL, 34994. (Local phone number (772) 286-1000). Its practice areas include car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, dog bite injuries, slip and fall injuries, swimming pool accidents and wrongful death claims. The firm represents clients throughout the South Florida communities of Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and Vero Beach and across the state of Florida. For more information, call (800) 299-8878 or use the firm’s online contact form.