BEWARE: “Unavoidable Accident” Insurance Defense on Icy or Wet Roads!By Stewart J. Guss on January 24th, 2014
Houston was hit with one of its rare, but dangerous, winter storms this morning. Many Houston drivers stayed home and off the roads because of icy conditions. As we saw on the news, however, many people stayed on the road and there were too many unfortunate accidents.
If you were one of my neighbors who were in an accident this morning, or if you have been involved in an accident during icy or unusually wet or foggy conditions, beware of the “unavoidable accident” defense which is certain to be asserted when you try to file a claim with the insurance company. Many people who assert claims for property damage or personal injury in Houston will be met with an insurance adjuster asserting the “unavoidable accident” defense and will face a flat denial of their claim. Unfortunately, this is just another in the adjuster’s arsenal of weapons to try and avoid paying legitimate claims and increase profits for their company. I’ve already written about the fact that an adjuster’s job is to DENY claims, not to pay them, in an article last fall. Accidents which occur in inclement weather are just ripe for denial based on the “Act of God” argument or the specific defense of “unavoidable accident.” The truth is – most of the accidents (even during bad or dangerous weather) ARE avoidable, and the insurance company may be COMPLETELY obligated to pay your claim.
In Texas, an “unavoidable accident” is an event not proximately caused by the negligence of any party to the occurrence. While many insurance adjusters will hope you simply accept that and drop your injury or property damage claim, the truth is that it may very well not apply to your claim at all. If it can be established that the Defendant was acting negligently in icy, wet, or foggy conditions, they CAN and should be held liable for their actions under Texas law. Most of the time, accidents don’t just “happen,” even in conditions of inclement weather. Most accidents in inclement weather still involve speeding, unsafe lane changes, following too closely for the weather conditions, and other driver negligence. When these factors are present (and they usually are), you STILL have a right to recover your personal injury and property damages, even if the insurance adjuster claims “unavoidable accident.”
If you have been in an accident in icy, wet, or foggy conditions in Houston, Spring, Cypress, The Woodlands, Tomball, or Katy, call me now at no charge at 800-898-4877. This phone call is absolutely free, and if you end up hiring me, I won’t charge you a dime unless I win your case. I’ve been practicing personal injury law almost 20 years, and I will leave no stone unturned to make sure the insurance company treats you fairly after your personal injury accident.