Who’s at Fault for a Car Accident Caused by Weather Conditions
Car accidents cause a lot of unwanted physical, emotional, and financial stress. There are many accidents that happen in normal weather conditions due to recklessness and distractions. But even drivers who are attentive and safe can become the victims of accidents in bad weather conditions.
Out of the 5,891,000 vehicle crashes that occur each year in the United States, the Department of Transportation found that approximately 21% of these crashes are related to bad weather.
Inclement weather creates dangerous driving conditions. Weather conditions like fog can affect your ability to see, which can make driving unsafe. Other weather conditions such as rain, ice, and snow can create slick pavements from the mixture of moisture, oil, and dust on the roads’ surface.
Although most people think of cold and/or wet conditions as being dangerous, even on sunny days the sun glare can cause visibility impairments and be hazardous.
Since driving is dangerous during adverse weather, many believe that they should not be held accountable for an accident that happens due to conditions they cannot control.
Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t share the same beliefs, so drivers might wonder who’s at fault when these types of accidents occur.
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Liability in a Weather-Related Motor Vehicle Crash
While bad weather may be the cause of a weather-related car accident, pursuing it as the culprit for your accident can be difficult.
Depending on the circumstances, the individual operating the vehicle that caused the accident can’t use the weather as an excuse and will typically be at fault.
Drivers are expected to stay off the roads during weather conditions that are too hazardous to operate a vehicle safely. As a result, they have to take full responsibility for themselves, their passengers, and their car should they decide to get behind the wheel under these conditions.
Every driver on the road already has a duty to others to avoid a collision, but they must exercise a higher level of care when driving in bad weather because of the unsafe conditions.
Drivers should take extra precautions to avoid an accident during inclement weather. This means driving under the speed limit, taking turns slowly, using hazard lights, pulling over if visibility is poor, and ensuring that the vehicle is safe to operate.
While road conditions are also considered when a car accident happens, the driver that lost control will generally be responsible for any damages they caused. For this reason, all involved drivers can even be held liable for their damages.
How Liability is Determined in a Weather-Related Accident
The key to determining liability for a bad weather car accident is to establish the negligence of the other driver. In this case, negligence is a term typically referred to as instances where a driver does not practice proper caution in hazardous weather conditions.
The following are examples of ways a driver can be found negligent in driving in poor weather conditions:
● Driving with the knowledge of the unsafe weather conditions
● Driving at an unsafe speed that did not reflect on the conditions of the weather.
● Taking a turn at an accelerated speed on slippery pavement
● Not leaving enough distance between vehicles
● Failure to use headlights in poor visibility conditions
Negligence can also be due to poor vehicle maintenance, such as:
● Worn-out tires
● Weak brakes
● Malfunctioning of lights
● Ineffective windshield wipers
Even safe and prepared drivers can find themselves in a car accident. Just as you cannot control the weather, you also cannot control other driver’s actions.
If you believe the other party is at fault in a bad weather accident, you should contact an experienced Personal Injury Attorney. Call the experienced lawyers from The Brown Firm to get the compensation you deserve.
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