What to Do If You Suffer a Winter-Weather Related Personal Injury in Texas
Posted in Premises Liability on January 21, 2020
While winter weather-related accidents may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Texas winters, there are plenty of areas throughout the state that do see some snow and ice. In these types of conditions, the chances of a personal injury can increase.
If you are in a winter accident caused by the negligence of another driver, you could be entitled to compensation. The same is true if you suffer a personal injury due to a property owner’s negligence to keep their property safe.
While navigating the process of filing a personal injury claim can be confusing, the McAllen premises liability lawyer of De La Garza Law Firm can help you on your path to recovery.
Below we discuss some of the most common types of winter weather-related accidents in Texas, as well as what you should do if you are the victim of such an accident.
A Few of the Most Common Winter Weather-Related Accidents
While snow is rare in South Texas, it does occasionally freeze in the region. Additionally, northern Texas and the Texas Panhandle do see plenty of wintery conditions. When it freezes, ice can make outdoor spaces dangerous to maneuver.
Slip-and-fall accidents are the most common type of personal injury accidents caused by winter weather. In Texas, ice accumulation has to be “unnatural” for the owner of the property to be considered liable for any injuries sustained on the premises. Proving that sort of negligence can be difficult, so obtaining experienced assistance from a premises liability attorney can be invaluable.
Cases involving negligent drivers and winter weather can also be complex. You have to prove that the other driver caused your accident as a result of not taking adequate care to account for wintery conditions and that your own actions did not lead to the incident.
Property owners have a duty-of-care to those visiting their property. This means they must make all reasonable efforts to keep people safe while on their property. If you are injured because of a property owner’s failure to fulfill this duty-of-care, they can potentially be held liable for any damages you sustained. Proving negligence, however, can be complex and varies from case to case. Texas, in particular, is a very hard state in which to win a premises liability claim.
In Texas, in order to validate a claim of this type, four things must be proven. First, you must prove that the defendant owed you, the plaintiff, a duty-of-care as mentioned above. This requirement also applies to motorists: each driver must exercise reasonable care while on the road. You must also prove that duty-of-care was breached and that it was this breach that caused your injury. You also must show that the breach was caused by the defendant alone and that you were no more than 50% responsible for your own injuries.
Another factor in Texas is the “Natural Accumulation Rule.” This rule relieves property owners of liability in cases where the accumulation of snow or ice is “natural.” As long as the property owner took no actions to alter or interfere with the accumulation. This, however, is where the laws can get a bit complicated.
In most cases, the court will not punish business owners for salting or shoveling sidewalks in an effort to make them safer. There must be an abnormal danger involved to constitute negligence in this case.
What to Do If You Are Injured
If you’re injured as a result of an accident in which winter weather played a factor, it is very important to document as much as you can about the conditions which caused your accident. Ice melts, of course, and sidewalks get salted and cleared regularly, so taking pictures as soon as possible is a must.
After your accident, write down as much information about the event as possible and gather the contact information of any potential witnesses. If you are unable to do this because of an injury, ask someone to assist you. Our personal injury attorney in McAllen is here to help.