Rain, snow, sleet, fog, wind, and other weather conditions can make the roads more dangerous. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that bad weather conditions plays a role in about 21% of all traffic accidents. If you were injured in an accident that occurred in bad weather, it’s important to understand how this could affect the outcome of your auto accident case.
How Fault is Determined In An Auto Accident Case
Insurance companies review the details of each claim to determine who caused the accident. Insurance adjusters consider a number of factors when determining liability, including:
- The speed at which both vehicles were traveling
- Road conditions
- How well each driver complied with traffic laws
- Driver distraction
During this process, the goal is to determine if either driver acted negligently. A driver’s behavior is negligent if it differs from how another driver would have acted under similar circumstances. For example, most drivers stop at stop signs. If a driver runs through a stop sign, he is acting negligently since other drivers would not do this if they were in the same situation. If he collides with a vehicle while running the stop sign, he is liable for the accident since it occurred as a result of his negligence.
Who is Liable: Negligent Drivers or Mother Nature?
Insurance companies will consider weather conditions when determining liability in a car accident case. However, this does not mean that mother nature will be held accountable for the accident. Insurance companies expect drivers to make certain adjustments in order to stay safe while driving in bad weather. Failing to make necessary adjustments to your driving behavior is seen as negligence. To determine liability, the insurance company will evaluate how each driver acted in the moments leading up to the crash given the poor weather conditions.
For example, drivers need to use windshield wipers when it’s raining or they won’t be able to see. It’s negligent to leave your windshield wipers off during a rainstorm, so if you crash into another car because you can’t see through the rain, you will be at fault for the accident. The weather conditions certainly made the roads more dangerous, but you are still liable since you failed to adjust your driving behavior in order to stay safe in these conditions.
The weather conditions will be taken into consideration when determining liability, but drivers should never assume that they won’t be held liable simply because the accident occurred in bad weather.
Have you been injured in a car accident? There’s no time to waste—seek legal representation at once. Martin Gasparian has helped countless car accident victims recover compensation from the negligent drivers that caused them harm. Let him fight for the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation regarding your case by calling 559-203-3333 or submitting your information at MaisonLaw.com.