The recent flooding along the Colorado River has impacted 18 different counties in Texas, including Williamson, Bastrop, and Travis counties. Many people in and around Austin have had to evacuate, losing personal belongings or sometimes their homes. Another problem seen in flooded areas is a host of automobiles either damaged or totaled, by rising flood waters or by accidents caused by weather. If you are injured in an auto accident in this type of weather, you may be entitled to compensation for the harm you suffered, if you can show that someone else’s negligence played a role.
Crashes Are Common
Because so few are truly prepared to handle floods on busy roads in Austin, several accidents always occur in heavy rainstorms. Standing water is always a potential issue, and if an area has not had a lot of rain before the onset of the storms, oil can build up on the pavement and make it more slippery. Speed is also a constant factor as well, especially since many drivers do not slow down in suboptimal weather. The end result can be severe – statistics from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration show that as many as 70 percent of all weather-related crashes happen on wet pavement, with an average of approximately 20 percent of all auto accident injuries occurring in rain.
This can sometimes be compounded by poor maintenance on the part of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) or local entities (depending on the road). Badly lighted or positioned signs, potholes, and unmarked standing water can be responsible for several accidents, and thus, for any injuries or fatalities sustained in those accidents. Either way, in a flood, it is eminently possible that whatever harm you come to may not be your own fault, and if someone else acts recklessly or negligently, they may owe you compensation for the harm you suffer as a result.
Who to Sue?
Depending on the specific nature of your accident, you may find that multiple people might be to blame for your injuries. In theory, multiple defendants can be sued, but sometimes, it can come down to who may bear more blame. Do you bring suit against the driver who struck your car? Or against the entity or government agency who improperly failed to post signage about standing water or potholes? Part of proving a negligence case under Texas law is showing causation – if not for a certain act, would the accident have happened?
Be advised that if you believe that TxDOT or any other government agency might have played a role in your accident, you will have to ensure that your claim meets the requirements of the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA), which it must do in order for your suit to go forward. Governmental agencies are normally immune from tort suits under a doctrine called sovereign immunity, but under the TTCA, they can be sued in specific situations. Before going forward, it is important to see that your accident fits the bill.
Contact Our Auto Accident Lawyers
If you must be out and about during the flood, please be safe – but if the unthinkable happens and you are injured in a car wreck, know that an experienced and knowledgeable auto accident attorney may be a good person to call. The skilled New Braunfels car accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm can answer your questions and direct you how best to proceed in your specific situation. Call us today at 888-392-0039 to schedule an appointment.