Category: Winter Storm Uri

Insurance Claims after Ice-Storm Damage

By Feb 20, 2021 Posted in Insurance

Following Winter Storm Uri, many Houston-area homes have been damaged by burst pipes, and even by issues like sewer backup resulting from long power outages at treatment facilities. If your property has been damaged—although legal issues may be low on your list of priorities right now—there are some important things to keep in mind for insurance claims: Report your claim as soon as possible. Read your homeowner’s insurance policy carefully. It likely contains conditions about giving prompt notice of damage, and how and to whom you must give notice. Insurance companies will use any failure to comply with those conditions to deny your claim. If you have already missed deadlines, you should still make an effort to comply—“substantial” (but not precise) compliance is often enough to protect your rights. Document all damage. Take pictures of the damage and surrounding areas, fixtures, and keep copies of any repair quotes or receipts. Save and bag all damaged materials. Do not give into pressure from your insurance company to accept a quick settlement before fully evaluating your damage. If your insurance company denies your claim, don’t just take their word for it. After crises like this one, insurers often start to issue bad faith, blanket denials of coverage—it happened after Hurricane Harvey, too. Your property damage may be covered even if your insurer says otherwise. Finally, if you feel that your insurer has denied your claim in bad faith or is undervaluing your property damage, or if you simply want assistance navigating this […]

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Trucking Safety—Extreme Weather Regulations

By Feb 16, 2021 Posted in Legal Issues

The past few days have highlighted the danger of icy road conditions, including through massive pileups in Fort Worth and Magnolia. The wrecks, and the 100-car-plus pileup in Fort Worth in particular, have led many to focus on the need for “de-icing” on roadways. To be sure, de-icing is helpful. But it’s not always practical—just a few days ago, for example, drivers were stuck on a Hempstead flyover for hours waiting for TxDOT crews to de-ice the road. These road safety conversations are overlooking a key factor: commercial trucks. Look at the pictures and video from the deadly Fort Worth crash, and see just how many 18-wheelers were involved. One picture shows two tractor trailers with more than 20 cars crushed between them, highlighting just how much more devastation these trucks can cause compared to passenger cars.   The thing is, those trucks weren’t supposed to be on the road at all. The Texas commercial drivers’ license handbook tells truck drivers: “If the surface is icy, reduce speed to a crawl and stop driving as soon as you can safely do so.” That requirement tracks federal regulations, which require “extreme caution” in cases of snow, ice, or sleet, and require trucks to stop when the conditions are sufficiently dangerous. In the Fort Worth wreck, the trucks were obviously on the road. And even if they did not have enough time to stop after noticing the ice, they certainly seem not to have slowed to a “crawl.” The failure to follow regulations may […]

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