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The Impact of Adverse Weather on Liability for Car Accidents


January 27, 2022

An auto accident can be caused by a multitude of factors, such as vehicle design or manufacturing defects, driver negligence, the weather, or even inadequately maintained roadways.  If you experience injury caused by the the negligence of a third party, whether another driver, manufacturer of your car, or even a public entity responsible for roadway design or maintenance, you might have the right to compensation for your injuries, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.  In basic terms, negligence in the context of an auto accident is an act or omission that does not conform to a reasonable standard of care to prevent an accident which causes injury or property damage.  

While bad weather constitutes a factor beyond the control of a motorist, the failure of drivers to adjust their driving for weather conditions might even impact liability and the determination of negligence in an auto collision.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident or you have lost a loved one, an experienced car accident lawyer can scrutinize your situation and explain your legal rights.

How Does Severe Weather Cause an Uptick in Motor Vehicle Accidents?

Driving a car in high wind, snow, or rain is more difficult than driving a vehicle on a dry, sunny day.  Bad weather conditions greatly impact a driver’s visibility and reaction time.  Rain is usually the most problematic weather condition for most drivers statistically since rainy driving conditions cause more than 45% of all weather-related traffic crashes.

There are many different reasons why wet roads and rainy conditions are dangerous to motorists.  However, the most common causes of rain-related auto accidents include:

  • Hydroplaning - Hydroplaning happens when tires lose traction due to wet road surfaces. 
  • Poor Visibility – Stormy weather can drastically reduce visibility for drivers making it more difficult to see hazards.
  • Speeding – Not adjusting the vehicle’s speed according to weather conditions increases the chance of hydroplaning and increases the chances of being involved in a rear-end collision.

Although wet roads caused by rain can be dangerous, there are many other types of inclement weather that can create dangerous road conditions.  Snow, sleet, and icy roadways are also dangerous.  However, the number of accidents caused by wintery weather conditions is less since these weather conditions are only prevalent in some regions of the United States.

Adverse weather conditions frequently play a role in causing a serious car accident.  Whether the road is slippery, icy, or rainy, extreme weather conditions can impact one’s ability to drive safely.  The determination of liability in an auto accident can be significantly affected by weather and corresponding road conditions.  In some states, the state’s basic speeding law mandates that motorist reduce their speed as appropriate when warranted by road or weather conditions.  In other words, a speeding ticket can be issued even when a motorist is driving under the posted speed limit if conditions make this maximum posted speed unsafe.  

Determining Liability in Weather-Related Car Accidents

Drivers have a duty to take all necessary actions to avoid causing an accident.  A driver must maintain control of their vehicle at all times. Drivers are required to adapt their driving to road conditions and weather conditions.  For example, if it starts to rain and tire traction is lessened, a driver should reduce their speed to maintain control of their vehicle.

When determining liability or proving negligence in an auto accident case, other factors taken into consideration may include:

  • Speed;
  • Tire maintenance;
  • Use of headlights;
  • Use of windshield wipers;
  • Intoxication;
  • Distracted driving;
  • Dangerous driving;
  • Violation of traffic laws; 
  • Failure to obey road signs; and
  • Other factors.

Drivers who fail to modify their driving to correspond to existing weather and road conditions cause serious auto accidents.  Unsafe motorists often drive as if road and weather conditions are perfect by following too close, driving too fast, and/or frequently changing lanes.  

Determining who is at fault in situations where adverse weather becomes a factor in a serious car accident can be challenging.  The insurance company for the negligent driver may blame the auto accident on the weather and claim that the accident was unavoidable.  An experienced car accident attorney from Montlick Injury Attorneys can gather evidence to make certain that you or your loved one is not wrongfully blamed for the accident.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 38 Years Of Legal Experience To Work For Your Case!

If you or a loved one have been injured by another's negligent actions, call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation today. Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law has been representing those who suffer serious injuries for over years.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour live chat.

Sources:

https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/q1_roadimpact.htm

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.