Summer in Houston is marked by humid, rainy days. June is Houston’s rainiest month of the year, averaging almost 6 inches. The increase in rainfall and inclement weather means your chances of being in a weather-related accident also increase. Wet roads, poor visibility, and slick surfaces create the perfect storm of hazardous conditions that could lead to a car accident or other personal injury.
The Sherman Law Firm is experienced in handling automobile accident and personal injury cases, having represented countless client’s pursuing compensation for their injuries. Tough in and out of the courtroom, our attorneys know what it takes to receive fair compensation from insurance companies and other defendants.
Types of Inclement Weather-Related Injuries
The United States Department of Transportation reports that weather-related crashes account for approximately 21 percent of all vehicle crashes each year, resulting in almost 5,000 deaths and over 400,000 injuries. Inclement weather includes rain, hail, and high winds, causing slick surfaces, poor visibility, and tough driving conditions. Contributing factors to accidents include:
- Flooded roads, causing automobiles to hydroplane.
- Slick surfaces, requiring greater stopping distances.
- Poor visibility, making it difficult to see hazardous situations.
- Distracted driving, eating or cellphone use that result in lack of attention..
- Improper equipment, such as worn tires or faulty tail lights creating unsafe conditions.
Inclement weather can also create dangerous situations on a property such as slick surfaces as well as holes and other hazards. If reasonable steps to prevent or fix the dangerous situation are not taken, a property owner may be liable for any harm caused. Contributing factors to personal injuries include:
- Slick surfaces resulting in falls.
- Holes caused by erosion resulting in falls or other damage.
- Failure to remove debris resulting in falls or other injury.
- Poor visibility, resulting in harm or injury.
You Are Protected in an Inclement Weather Accident
If another party’s actions or inaction resulted in your injury, Texas law offers protections. Most weather-related accidents result in injuries caused by negligence. Negligence is a legal term meaning the failure to take proper care or precautions when acting. To prove another party is responsible for an injury, the injured party must show:
- The responsible party owed the injured party a duty to act in a reasonably careful manner;
- The responsible party breached that duty by acting carelessly under the circumstances;
- The responsible party’s actions were the direct cause of the injury; and
- As a result of the responsible party’s carelessness, the injured party suffered recognizable damages.
What Duty is Owed?
Generally, people owe each other a duty to act reasonably careful. This means they must take precautions that an average person would take to avoid causing injury to another. For example, when driving a car, a reasonable person owes other drivers a duty to drive at a safe speed for the conditions. Another duty a driver owes other drivers is to make sure his or her vehicle is properly maintained, including lights, brakes, and tires. A shop owner or restaurant owes customers a duty to keep publicly accessible areas safe. For instance, on a rainy day, a reasonable property owner would mop and put down rugs to reduce the chance that floors near an entrance become slippery and could cause customers to fall.
Types of Damages That Can Be Recovered In Inclement Weather Accidents
If a responsible party owed you a duty, clearly breached that duty, and the breach was the cause of your injury, you may be entitled to damages. You can recover damages for:
- Medical Bills (past and future)
- Damage to Person (physical impairment or disfigurement)
- Damage to Property
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish (if causes a substantial disruption to daily routine)
Attorney Fees and Costs
Limitations on Protections
If you are found to be partially at fault for the accident causing your harm, Texas law may limit the amount you can recover. Texas follows a system called Modified Comparative Fault, which bases recovery on the percentage of fault that may be assigned to the injured party. Under this system, if an injured party is involved in an accident and is at fault for the injuries, his or her recovery is reduced by the percentage of fault he or she carries. For example, in a car accident case, if the injured party was 10 percent at fault for the car accident while the responsible party was 90 percent at fault, liability is limited to 90 percent of the total amount of damages.
This percentage of fault system carries on until the injured party is 51 percent or more at fault. In the case where the injured party is 51 percent or more at fault for the accident causing his or her injuries, then he or she is completely barred from seeking any recovery. The idea behind this system is that if an injured party shares the majority of the fault for an accident, he or she should not be entitled to recover for any injuries resulting from the accident.
Contact Our Houston Inclement Weather Accident Lawyer
Although inclement weather increases the likelihood of being in an accident, the ultimate responsibility falls on individuals for failing to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. The requirements for proving negligence and the legal framework for seeking damages can be quite confusing. If you believe another party is responsible for your injuries resulting from an accident, an experienced attorney is a vital resource in compensating your losses.
At the Sherman Law Office, we have handled countless automobile and personal injury cases, achieving exceptional results for our clients. We have the skill and experience to assess your case and determine the value of your claims. We will help you determine how to proceed, whether it be pursuing settlement negotiations or going to trial. Regardless, we are here to help at every step along the way. Consultations are free and you will pay no attorney fees until we win your case. Contact us today!