Legal issues surrounding hurricanes: Work, evacuations, and more

 In Personal Injury

When living in Louisiana, hurricanes will always be a worry in the back of your head. Your life and livelihood are always at risk of being upended by one of these destructive storms, leaving you with so much to think about that the legal part slips through the cracks. Most people never think about it until you’re suddenly in a situation where it is your problem.

You may have been hurt or feel that your personal freedoms have been impaired during the hurricane relief process. Do not worry—our team can help you navigate the legal issues surrounding hurricanes, from your job to evacuation to anything else you could think of. If you have ever wondered about the legal rights to floods and hurricanes, a Lake Charles personal injury lawyer at our firm can better understand what you can depend on.

legal issues surrounding hurricanes

Is it legal to have to work during a hurricane?

The first thing you may wonder is, is it legal for me to be working during a hurricane? Should I close my business for the duration, or can I keep functioning? No OSHA regulations say whether workers must stay or leave during a hurricane, but it is regulation to provide a safe workspace.

Unless there is a mandatory evacuation, it is generally up to the boss to decide whether the employees should stay or go during a hurricane. It is definitively advised to have a plan for an emergency, and many facilities already have one.

The usual liability laws apply regarding workers getting hurt if they must stay during a hurricane. Still, dangerous weather conditions make a worker more likely to be injured. That means employers and workers face greater physical and monetary risks, even if your legal rights don’t say you must stop working during a hurricane.

If you are a worker forced to stay during a hurricane, you still have rights. If you were injured because you were not allowed to evacuate, you can seek out compensation from your place of business.

Is it legal to limit water during a hurricane?

When a hurricane hits, water treatment plants can lose power. Even if they have power, storm drainage can get into the city’s water lines and cause tainting. Under the EPA, there are legal limits on certain substances found in water.

So, if the water is tainted, the city can limit the flow to households and businesses to protect the people from contaminated water. However, the city must also place boil warnings if water is unsafe for drinking or other use.

When preparing for a hurricane, it is encouraged to stock up on water beforehand, filling a tub with clean water to use until everything’s set right again. If the city fails to warn you or doesn’t provide clear water use guidelines, contact an attorney about protecting your rights.

Your legal rights in a mandatory evacuation for a hurricane

Often, with an especially powerful hurricane, you will be required by law to evacuate for your safety. If the authorities have ruled that staying can be hazardous to your health, you should listen, but you may have circumstances making it difficult or even impossible to upend your life and leave.

What are the legal implications associated with the hurricane response?

Evacuation is only mandatory when the expected conditions are life-threatening. Other than essential workers, no one is allowed within the area until the government deems it safe when services have returned and it’s no longer dangerous. Anyone found outside during this time will be arrested and forcibly removed until the evacuation order lifts.

Legal consequences of defying a mandatory hurricane evacuation

If you defy a mandatory evacuation order, you can stay home and can’t be forced out. However, you will be under a strict curfew, and if you are caught outside, you will be removed from the evacuation area against your will. Trying to fight that would be resisting arrest can only get you in more trouble.

All public services will be suspended, and rescue may not be available if you need it. Those services will not be back until the essential workers can get the situation under control, so you are looking at either being trapped in your home during a natural disaster or getting arrested and removed if you are found outside.

Talk to your hurricane evacuation lawyer

If you have any questions or concerns regarding legal rights for floods or hurricanes, your best bet is to contact a hurricane evacuation lawyer. The Johnson Firm is a Lake Charles personal injury lawyer who would happily consult with you.

The Johnson Firm offers free consultations regarding personal injury and would love to hear from you. Contact us at (337) 433-1414 or our website.

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