Families File Wrongful Death Lawsuits After Texas Storm
Texans were unprepared for the bitter winter storms that ravaged the state in February, killing dozens of people. The utility companies were not expecting it either. Had they been prepared, could they have prevented the deaths, which ranged from children to the elderly?
It’s possible. Millions were left without power as temperatures dropped to 10 degrees in parts of Texas. This led to many deaths, but did these people have to die? The general consensus is that more could have been done. That’s why many families who lost loved ones due to the effects of the storm, such as extreme cold and lack of power, are filing lawsuits against utility companies in the state. CPS and Oncor have already been sued and more wrongful death lawsuits are in the works.
The family of an 11-year-old boy is suing Electric Reliability Council of Texas and Entergy Corp. for the boy’s wrongful death. The boy, from Conroe, Texas, died on February 16 due to hypothermia from the extreme cold. He was happy, healthy and playing in the snow the day before his death. His family is suing the electric companies for $100 million for gross negligence.
But the question is: Can consumers sue these electric companies or are they immune? Typically, government entities and large companies have some sort of immunity. However, according to a law professor, Texas’ wrongful death laws specifically allow lawsuits against utility companies. However, it is up to the courts to ultimately decide if the utility companies were negligent. Did they act reasonably by shutting off power when the storm hit? What more could they have done? Could they have prevented the deaths?
Some experts think so. The lawsuits allege that the utility companies did little to prepare for the winter storm. They knew at least one week in advance that the storm was going to hit the state, but did not update their systems accordingly. They failed to winterize the power grid, despite recommendations to do so. They also misled customers about how long the rolling blackouts would last. Many residents did not think the blackouts would last multiple days, so they did not properly prepare.
The utility companies were also unprepared. They could not handle the extreme weather conditions, even though there was a lot they could have done to prepare. Even though Texas does not typically have these severe storms often, the utility companies should have had a plan in place. Customers pay a lot of money for electricity and rely on it. The utility companies let them down.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer
It’s heartbreaking that the utility companies did not prepare for the winter storm. While Texas does not usually receive such large amounts of snow, it’s always good to have plans in place in case the unexpected occurs.
If your loved one died due to someone’s negligence or reckless behavior, contact The West Law Office, PLLC. Our Houston wrongful death lawyers can hold the at-fault party accountable and help you obtain compensation for damage. Call 281-347-3247 or fill out the online form for a free consultation.