When old man winter brings ice to the roadways in Texas a couple of things happen immediately. Ice and/or snow on roadways become treacherous for all drivers. And second, most Texans have limited if any experience while driving in it or on it.
Obviously when these types of conditions occur the driving becomes perilous. In the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex alone hundreds of car wrecks were reported to police agencies in just a couple of days during one of these storms in February 2014. Now most of these car wrecks were just “fender benders”, which can still cause injuries, but a few are way more serious. They cause catastrophic injuries and in some cases death. Just two weeks a 16 year Northwest High School Student was killed when a car crossed a center line and hit her car head on. Brianna Christensen was killed and her passenger was seriously injured. Sadly she was not the only person to lose their life during this last winter storm. The initial report is that the roadway conditions were part of the fault in causing this tragic accident. Tragically when type of car wreck happens some insurance companies or those responsible will defend by saying its an act of god, I didn’t do, or my insured didn’t do anything wrong.
What, if any, blame should go around and what kind of accountability should the at fault driver bear in an accident such as Ms. Christensen’s? The Texas Supreme Court has sliced away most of the law that allows for negligence to be found where ice or snow or other acts of Mother Nature are involved. Basically, saying that a bad condition because of the ice or snow on the ground is not the fault of one but an act of God.
But not always! In cases such as Ms. Christensen’s you have to look deeper into the causes of the accident. Was the driver operating his or her vehicle in a reasonable and prudent way given the road conditions and weather conditions? Did the owner of the property, say a parking lot, do something to change the condition like melt the snow or ice just to have it re-freeze and cause a more dangerous condition? Every case is different and every set of facts are different. These types of cases are difficult from a negligent standpoint. They should investigate thoroughly the facts surrounding the cause of the accident and reconstruct it.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of a car wreck involving suspect weather or road conditions you should seek the advice of an experience trial attorney. Coby L. Wooten, Attorney at Law, P.C. is up to the task. Call him for a free consultation.