• Apr
    09
    Posted in:
    Posted by: Jarve Kaplan Granato Starr

    How is Fault Determined When Bad Weather Causes a Car Accident?

    Remember the scene in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, when Yukon Cornelius says, “Isn’t a fit night out for man nor beast”?

    In that case, Rudolph’s red nose lit the way for Santa and everybody lived happily ever after. But if you venture out onto the roads in rain, snow, ice or fog, things can end less happily and you can get into an accident, and that can make filing a personal injury claim complicated. Even when the weather is bad, drivers are held responsible for causing an accident and exercising their duty of care, and part of that equation will include having been on the road in the first place for all involved.

    Though it feels unfair to be held even partially responsible for an accident in bad weather, the law takes the position that all drivers involved have the ability to make the decision about whether or not to go out and drive, and are also expected to exercise extra caution when behind the wheel in those circumstances. In fact, under hazardous conditions, the expectation is that the duty of care increases. The only exception to this is in extraordinary circumstances where the weather arises completely unexpectedly, such as the case if an accident occurs because heavy fog suddenly appears in a valley or if a tornado were to appear and lead to an accident while the driver is on the road.

    Barring those types of circumstances, if you’ve been in an accident with another driver in bad weather, both drivers’ actions will be carefully examined to determine whether they were driving too fast, disobeying traffic signals or road signs, or acting irresponsibly in other ways such as not using headlights or windshield wipers, not having properly maintained tires or brakes, or driving while fatigued, distracted or impaired.   Each of those elements will be considered to determine both fault and negligence in a car accident by insurance companies and, if you decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, by the court.

    If you’ve been in a car accident caused by bad weather, one of the best decisions that you can make before making any decisions is to speak to an experienced attorney to understand what options you have. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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