Act of God Defense in Texas

Texas is no stranger to extreme weather—hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornadoes, thunderstorms, winter storms, and extreme heat consistently occur in Texas—and these wild weather patterns leave a wake of destruction in their path. They can cause huge amounts of property damage, injuries, and even loss of life. In legal terms, these natural disasters are called “Acts of God.”

What is the Act of God Defense in Texas?

An Act of God is defined as an occurrence not caused by a person’s negligence but caused directly and exclusively by the violence of nature without human intervention. An Act of God is an event that could not have been prevented by reasonable foresight or care.

This affirmative defense is a variant of the unavoidable accident defense theory in Texas; it refers to events when injuries would happen regardless of any intervention.

An Act of God defense only applies when damages were caused exclusively by nature. The exclusivity requirement means the defense is not applicable if human intervention caused the incident to any degree.

Circumstances Where “Act of God” Is a Viable Defense in Texas

The Act of God defense is a rebuttable defense available in Texas. The defense is limited by whether or not humans could have intervened. If a natural event caused the injury, the defense will work. However, if nature and the negligence of a person or entity caused the injury, the defense will not survive. For example, negligent driving is not an Act of God.

These events are considered Acts of God in Texas:

  • Earthquakes
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Tsunamis
  • Floods

Circumstances Where “Act of God” Is Not a Defense

An example where this defense did not apply is the case of Harrisburg & San Antonio Railway Co. v. Crie. The company had failed to properly maintain its railways and a large storm came and injured train operators. The court determined that the company’s failure to control and maintain its property was an intervening act that severed the Act of God defense.

Hire an Act of God Attorney in Texas at Sandoval & James

If you, or someone you know, were harmed in an extreme weather event, do not hesitate to call Sandoval & James. We have a team of trained attorneys ready to answer any questions you may have and can help you determine if your injuries are the result of negligence or an act of god.

Contact Sandoval & James today.

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