Winter Storm Uri, the major winter and ice storm that hit Texas in February 2021, left the state reeling after millions of residents were left in the cold and the dark. The storm’s potential losses have been estimated to be between $10 billion and $90 billion dollars, a state record. Almost $20 billion dollars worth of insurance claims will come from the automotive insurance industry alone. Texas officials reported that icy conditions in the state resulted in almost 2,000 accidents resulting in more than 500 injuries. One such pileup in Fort Worth quickly became internet famous, when a record 133 cars were involved in a massive pileup due to freezing rain. The Houston area saw more than 100 crashes from the icy conditions, minor and major accidents alike.
When unexpected weather-related accidents happen, Texas drivers should both prepare for and expect the worst. Texas reported more than 500,000 weather-related accidents in 2019, and drivers often pay a heavy price. While storm related damages do not guarantee higher premiums, rates could go up if the area saw an increase in claims due to the same storm. Hundreds of thousands of claims are anticipated to be filed after Winter Storm Uri. Wait times for payouts could be longer than usual, as processing times are expected to take months.
Even if weather conditions contributed to the accident, the driver who caused the initial collision is often at fault. Texas state law requires drivers to have liability insurance, but in a multi-vehicle accident the minimum liability limit might be too low to cover the total costs. Comprehensive coverage usually covers storm related damages and can help to cover more of the costs. When two or more vehicles are involved in a weather-related accident, insurance companies can be quick to place blame on all the drivers involved. In case of injury, it can be challenging to determine which carrier will foot the bill. Personal injury protection can serve as additional protection if both drivers are responsible.
If you or a loved one was injured in a vehicular accident during Winter Storm Uri or any weather-related accident, you should consult with an attorney to help evaluate your policy and your entitled protections. The attorneys of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner can be reached by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 1-800-594-4884.