The Department of Transportation found that approximately 21% out of 5,891,000 automobile collisions are related to bad weather that occurs each year in the United States.
Severe weather creates dangerous driving conditions. Weather like fog can impact your capability to see, which can make driving risky. Other weather such as snow, ice, and rain can create slick pavements from the mix of oil, moisture, and dust on the roads’ surface.
Although most people consider wet and cold conditions as dangerous, even on sunny days, the glare of the sun can impair your ability to see and be hazardous.
Since driving during dangerous weather conditions is difficult, many drivers believe that they should not be held liable for an accident due to the conditions they cannot control.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not share the same belief, leaving the drivers questioning who’s at fault for these accidents.
As experienced car accident attorneys, we have handled numerous cases involving accidents in bad weather. To help victims understand their options after a collision caused by severe weather conditions, we have put together the following article. When an accident in bad weather occurs, many Houston drivers feel as if they are victims of circumstances beyond their control and do not realize the full extent of their rights after an accident of this nature.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident caused by bad weather and would like to discuss your circumstances, contact Joe I. Zaid & Associates ASAP.
Car Accident Caused By Weather?
Weather conditions in Houston are known to have a significant impact on roadways, causing accidents. However, can weather affect your car accident claim? The answer is yes, but it depends on a few factors.
Needled to say, it is crucial always to be alert and cautious every time you and other drivers get behind the wheel. It is imperative to be careful when severe weather conditions come into play.
Factors in Automobile Mishaps Brought On By Weather Conditions
Car accidents caused by weather conditions can be particularly complicated. Ultimately, when Mother Nature is the primary culprit, how can a driver be held accountable?
Nevertheless, certain factors in bad weather accidents can go a long way toward proving your case.
The first thing to look out for is the road condition on which the accident took place. Poor maintenance on the road causes more automobile accidents than bad weather, and when the two are combined, the result can be deadly. If your accident occurred on a Houston road that was particularly steep or windy, this might be a crucial factor in your bad weather car accident case. Another imperative factor is if the road’s pavement was poor or the signage was not clear. Likewise, unmarked construction sites, potholes, or missing guardrails are significant hazards for Houston drivers and are intensified in bad weather.
If your accident was caused by poor maintenance, it is essential to notify your car accident attorney before determining fault.
Fault in any car accident case is determined by “reasonable action.” This means that if you can prove that you were driving cautiously under the circumstances, you should not be found liable for the accident.
Moreover, other drivers can still be found negligent even in severe weather conditions, for example, if they were driving under the influence or disregarded the road rules.
Drivers Duty of Care
All drivers on the road have a duty to others to maintain control of the vehicle to avoid a collision. If you are driving in bad weather, you and other drivers must exercise a higher level of control due to the weather condition. The key in car accidents caused by bad weather is to prove that the other party failed to maintain control of their vehicle due to the driver’s negligence rather than the condition of the weather.
For instance, if light rain is falling and the road is not very wet, driving at the speed limit should be safe. However, if the rain is pouring down, causing water to rise on the road, decreasing visibility, a driver should slow down. All drivers should adjust their speed accordingly if the weather conditions change.
So if a driver spins out of control in rainy weather and collides with another vehicle, the driver may be held accountable even if the driver was not speeding since the driver was driving too fast for the conditions.
How is Liability Determined in a Weather-Related Accident?
To determine liability for a bad weather car accident, you must prove that the other driver was negligent and did not practice proper caution in hazardous weather conditions.
Examples of ways that a driver can be found negligent in driving in poor conditions include:
- Driving at unsafe speeds that did not reflect on the conditions of the weather.
- Driving with the knowledge of hazardous weather conditions.
- Not leaving enough distance between vehicles.
- Turning at an accelerated speed on slippery pavement
- Failure to use headlights in poor visibility conditions.
Negligence can also be due to poor vehicle maintenance, such as:
- Ineffective windshield wipers
- Malfunctioning of lights
- Worn-out tires
- Weak brakes
Even prepared and cautious drivers may still be involved in a car accident. As you cannot control the weather, you likewise cannot control other driver’s actions.
Call to Discuss Your Claim
Joe I. Zaid & Associates, car accident attorneys, are dedicated and passionate about helping you secure maximum compensation for the damages you suffered in a weather-related collision. If you think you have a claim, we are ready to fight to help you recover what you deserve.
We provide a free consultation at no upfront costs to discuss your case’s circumstances and your legal options.
Call a fair and trusted attorney today at (281) 990-5200 or fill out our form below, and someone will contact you shortly.