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Who is Liable For Car Accidents During a Hurricane in Houston?

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The Gutierrez Law Firm represents car accident victims in Houston. There’s a wide variety of different causes of these accidents, but one of the things you might not think of are weather events like hurricanes. Unfortunately, Houston isn’t immune to hurricanes and the destruction they can bring. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident during a hurricane, contact us today to talk about your legal options.

Why Do You Need a Lawyer?

You never know when you’ll be in a car accident, and what’s worse, you never really know how serious it’ll be. This is especially true if there’s a hurricane or other type of natural disaster that strikes while you’re out on the road. But do you need a lawyer, and do you even have legal options in this situation?

The answer, as with most things in this situation, is that it depends on the circumstances. If you get injured because of negligence, you have the right to file an injury claim. Where you would need a lawyer’s help is in figuring out if your car accident that happened during the hurricane was the result of negligence.

Our team of Houston car accident lawyers have a wealth of experience in handling car accident claims and figuring out just this scenario.

Who’s Liable When There’s a Car Accident During a Hurricane?

There’s some good news when you’re involved in a car accident during a hurricane in Houston. Namely, you still have the right to file an injury claim when there’s negligence involved that causes your accident and injuries.

Now, in a hurricane, this can get pretty complicated. Obviously, the conditions are going to make it extremely difficult to drive safely, if at all. That said, you and others on the road still have to do what you can to avoid an accident. In other words, negligence is still going to determine who’s liable for the accident. So, when there’s a car accident during a hurricane, there’s several potentially liable parties:

  • Other drivers – Even during a hurricane, drivers must drive carefully and safely. If a driver is speeding, not using headlights, or driving recklessly, they can be held responsible for any accidents. Despite dangerous weather, drivers are expected to adjust their driving to stay safe. Failing to do so can lead to legal responsibility.

  • Local government agencies – Sometimes, accidents happen because of bad road conditions or inadequate warnings from authorities. If it’s shown that the government didn’t maintain safe roads or give proper warnings, they might also be responsible for the accident.

  • Third parties – If other parties like truck drivers, construction firms, or maintenance workers are involved in an accident and found to be careless, they could be held legally responsible.

Negligence can make natural disasters much worse, especially in Houston where hurricanes and floods are fairly common. Then, there’s the typical damage that comes from car accidents, ranging from serious injuries to damage to your car. Recovering from these injuries takes a long time, so it’s important to consider making a claim to help with your recovery. However, the legal process for these claims can be complicated in this situation.

What’s the Legal Process After a Car Accident During a Hurricane?

Filing an injury claim after a hurricane is similar to filing one after a regular car accident. You can either file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.

Regardless, when there’s negligence, you get to file your claim to recover certain damages. These are the same as any other car accident claim, and depend on your losses. Generally, though, you can potentially recover:

  • Medical expenses
  • Repair or replacement costs for damaged property
  • Loss of companionship or enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Wrongful death expenses

Dealing with injuries or significant losses is always challenging, especially after a natural disaster. Remember, you have two years to file your claim under Texas’ statute of limitations. What complicates the situation is figuring out the underlying cause of the accident itself. Further, it can be tough to show negligence when there’s a hurricane or some other natural disaster. This makes the situation and what you do afterward extremely important.

What Should You Do After a Car Accident During a Hurricane?

If you find yourself on the road when there’s a hurricane, it’s obviously very scary. But remember, there must be negligence to have the ability to file an injury claim, and it’s on you to show the extent of your damages. So, you need to do everything you can to take steps to protect your claim. Here’s a few things that you can do:

  • Stay safe – Move your vehicle to a safe spot if you can do it safely. If it’s too risky due to severe weather, stay in your car with your seatbelt on until it’s safer to get out.

  • Assess how hurt you are – First things first, check yourself and anyone else with you for injuries. Call 911 right away if anyone is hurt, especially because of the hurricane.

  • Call the police – Dial the Houston Police Department, Houston TranStar, Harris County Sheriff’s Department, or the Texas Highway Patrol to report the accident. Tell them where you are and about the severe weather conditions.

  • Take pictures – If it’s safe, take photos of the accident scene. Capture vehicle damage, road conditions, and any storm effects like debris or flooding.

  • Exchange information with others – Exchange contact and insurance details with the other driver(s). If possible, get contact info from witnesses too.

  • Find shelter – If the hurricane is severe, find shelter immediately to protect yourself from the storm. Your safety comes first.

  • See a doctor – Even if you feel okay, see a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries might not show up right away due to the shock of the accident and the storm.

  • Contact your insurance company – Report the accident to your insurance company promptly. Give them all the details about the accident and the hurricane conditions.

  • Keep all your records and evidence – Keep records of medical treatments, conversations with your insurance company, and any documents related to the accident and the hurricane. This info could be important for your claim.

Again, your health and safety is always the top priority. Facing a car accident during a hurricane is almost unthinkable, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Our team of Houston car accident lawyers will be there to guide you through the process.

Contact The Gutierrez Law Firm After a Houston Car Accident

The causes of car accidents in Houston aren’t just limited to the actions of drivers. Sometimes, the elements play a part. If you or someone you care about has been injured in a car accident caused by a hurricane or some other type of natural disaster, you still have legal options. Contact us today to set up a free consultation to learn more about these options and how we can help you.