Even the most experienced driver can find themselves in a precarious situation when the weather turns rainy, foggy, or snowy. But is bad weather an excuse if a driver causes a car accident that injures others?
What Is Considered a Weather-Related Auto Accident?
A weather-related auto accident is one in which bad weather conditions play a contributing role. These weather conditions include rain, snow, fog, hail, sleet, ice, strong winds, and dust storms.
When the weather makes the roads unsafe, it can contribute to a driver losing control of their vehicle, resulting in an accident. Drivers must reduce their speed and take extra precautions in these types of conditions to avoid potential accidents. If the weather is bad enough, they must pull to the side of the road and wait for conditions to improve.
Who Is at Fault When Bad Weather Is a Factor in a Car Accident?
Let’s explore some general considerations for determining fault in particular weather conditions:
- Rain – Rainy weather can reduce visibility and decrease traction. Standing rainwater can also cause a vehicle to hydroplane and skid. Drivers must be extra careful and aware of their surroundings in wet conditions. If a driver fails to slow down or operates their vehicle recklessly in the rain, they may be found at fault for any resulting accident.
- Snow – Snowy weather is a significant cause of car accidents. Poor traction on the roads can make it difficult to maintain vehicle control. Drivers should take appropriate precautions in wintery conditions, such as installing winter tires or snow chains. They should also operate their vehicle cautiously, drive at lower speeds, and apply the brakes gently.
- Fog – Foggy conditions can significantly reduce visibility, making it hard to see potential hazards on the road. Drivers must be cautious and travel at lower speeds to remain safe and avoid collisions. They should also keep their low-beam headlights on to help other drivers see them and refrain from using their high beams, which can further reduce visibility as they reflect off the water droplets in the air.
- Ice – Icy roads are extremely dangerous and require special precautions from drivers. Skidding and sliding on icy roads can lead to serious accidents. Drivers must slow down, especially on bridges and overpasses, where ice can accumulate quickly and at higher temperatures than on surface roads.
When the weather turns bad, drivers are responsible for taking appropriate precautions. Failing to do so can make them at fault for a subsequent collision.
How Is Liability Determined for a Weather-Related Crash?
Someone who causes an accident is liable for the consequences, meaning they are legally responsible for compensating anyone they injure. Establishing this liability often rests on evidence, such as:
- Police reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Traffic camera or dashcam footage
- Weather reports
- Expert analysis
The driver who caused an accident might not be the only party liable for it. For example, a municipality might be partially liable if it improperly cleared snow from the roadway or failed to maintain a road surface that became inherently unsafe in the rain.
How Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, P.L.L.C., Can Help You
If you were injured in a weather-related car accident that wasn’t your fault, the law firm of Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, P.L.L.C., is ready to help. Our experienced attorneys understand the complexities of these cases and can pursue the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in North Carolina.