2 Steps to Take After a Weather-Related Accident in TexasApril 29, 2021
Drastic weather in Texas routinely presents new risks to the roads and the drivers on them. From floods and hail to hurricanes and tornadoes, severe weather in Texas can give rise to hazardous road conditions, especially for commercial truck drivers.
In fact, large, heavy commercial vehicles (like garbage trucks, cement trucks, package delivery trucks, and semi-trucks) can be especially difficult to control on hazardous roads. That’s one reason why adverse weather often causes serious and deadly 18-wheeler crashes in Texas.
If you are ever involved in a collision and poor weather may have been a factor, take the steps discussed below. They can be highly effective at protecting your rights while preserving the strength of a potential truck accident claim.
What Should You Do After a Weather-Related Accident in Texas?
After a serious weather-related accident in Texas, prioritize safety. That means:
- Get out of the way of traffic ASAP, if needed.
- Check on the other involved parties to see if they need emergency help.
- Call 911 immediately if you or anyone else has suffered serious injuries.
- Wait for medical personnel and/or law enforcement officers to arrive on the scene.
Regardless of the injuries resulting from the accident, the steps below are also essential to take. They can make it easier to pursue a claim and prove damages when it’s time to recover.
Step 1: Gather Evidence After a Weather-Related Accident
In the state of Texas, drivers must adhere to proportionate responsibility laws, stating that motorists cannot receive damages for motor vehicle accident claims if they are more than 50% responsible for the collision.
This percentage of responsibility can be determined by insurance companies or in court. Generally, it is based on the actions of the individual who filed the accident claim. Whatever the percentage of responsibility is, it will directly impact the amount of damages available.
Example: An individual who is 30% responsible for a distracted driving accident would have their compensation reduced by 30% if their claim is successful. Assuming the claim is worth $100,000, that would mean the individual would ultimately receive $70,000 in compensation (with the 30% reduction applied).
In these circumstances, gathering evidence from the scene of the accident can help you develop a stronger claim if you do end up filing one later. Your evidence may help prove fault and/or the losses you suffered from the crash. Some evidence to try to collect, whenever possible (and if you are not severely injured), can include:
- Photographs and videos of the scene, including any damage to your vehicle, visible personal injuries, debris from any involved vehicles, and pictures of the weather and road conditions
- Witness information, including the full name(s) and contact information of any bystanders who saw the accident or the aftermath
- Witness quotes or statements, detailing the scene of the accident and what they saw before, during, or after the crash
- Weather reports from official sources for the day, time, and general area of the accident
- Items from the scene, like damaged personal items or clothing worn at the time
If you cannot collect any of this due to crash-related personal injuries, an experienced Texas lawyer can help. In fact, an attorney can reinvestigate the accident, look for more evidence in police and traffic reports, and take other measures to strengthen a claim.
Step 2: Obtain Contact Information After a Weather-Related Accident in Texas
Rain-slicked roads can lead to rear-end collisions, hydroplaning, jackknifing, and other dangerous accidents. These collisions can be fatal when large commercial vehicles are involved. In many cases, a weather-related accident will involve more than one vehicle. When this happens, try to collect some key information from those who were driving or traveling in the other involved cars or trucks.
The most important information to collect from others after a weather-related accident is their:
- Full names: Ask others to check the spelling so you can be sure it’s correct.
- Insurance information: Note the insurance provider and the policy number.
- Contact info: This can include an email address and/or a phone number.
- Driving info: License plate numbers and/or drivers’ license numbers are both helpful to gather whenever possible.
If you don’t have time to write down this info, consider taking photos of the documents that contain it, like other motorists’ drivers’ licenses and/or insurance cards.
Recovering Damages from a Texas Weather-Related Trucking Accident
For truck drivers, working with a trained legal professional can be invaluable when it’s time to pursue a claim for a weather-related trucking accident in Texas. An attorney can walk injured truckers through the process while protecting their rights at every step.
Beyond that, an experienced lawyer can apply their knowledge of complicated trucking laws to craft stronger cases. In fact, with the right lawyer, it may be possible to recover:
- Economic damages: These damages repay victims for the financial impacts an accident has had (or will have) on their life. They can include compensation for medical bills, vehicle repair bills, loss of wages, and loss of earning capacity.
- Non-economic damages: This type of compensation is meant to compensate victims for the non-financial impacts of a wreck, such as mental suffering, emotional pain, and any physical discomfort resulting from an accident-related injury.
- Exemplary damages: These punitive damages are paid by the responsible party if the jury finds that their behavior was especially egregious or negligent. These damages are not common in truck accident cases, but they can arise from time to time.
If you choose to pursue an injury claim after a weather-related accident, speak with a qualified Texas truck accident lawyer to get important answers and advice.