Bad weather is a common cause of car accidents. When a car accident occurs in inclement weather, it can be confusing to know whether someone is responsible for the accident. In most cases, the answer is yes. However, there are things the victim must prove in their case to win the compensation that they qualify for under the law. Our Tampa car accident attorneys explain car accidents in bad weather.
Who is at fault when bad weather causes the car accident is any person who doesn’t exercise sufficient care to prevent the accident. All drivers have to take road conditions into account. If bad weather causes a car accident, it is the fault of any person who didn’t do enough to respond to road conditions. There can be multiple factors that contribute to a car accident. Who is at fault is any party who didn’t use sufficient care and caution on the roads, even considering the weather at the time of the crash.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, rain is the weather that causes the most accidents. As many as 70% of all weather-related accidents happen on wet pavement. In 46% of accidents that are caused by weather, it’s raining at the time of the crash. While there are several different types of weather that can contribute to accidents, like flooding and hail, rain is the most common cause of weather-related accidents.
Yes, weather-related accidents can be at-fault accidents. Just because the weather is a contributing factor to an accident doesn’t mean that one or more drivers aren’t at fault for the accident also. A driver has a legal obligation to be aware of all of the relevant conditions. Typically, when an accident is weather-related, it’s because one of the drivers doesn’t slow down enough to adjust for the weather. When a driver’s actions contribute to the crash, it is an at-fault accident.
Yes, you are typically at fault for hydroplaning. When the roads are slick, a driver is responsible for adjusting their driving behavior. If the driver misjudges the road conditions or judges the conditions and doesn’t slow down enough, they are at fault for hydroplaning. It’s also the driver’s responsibility to have a vehicle capable of handling the road conditions. There may be other contributing factors, and more than one driver can be at fault. However, in general, you can be at fault for hydroplaning.
Car accidents caused by weather can be tricky to determine fault. At first glance, it might seem like a weather-related car accident is no one’s fault. It might seem like an act of God or that it was simply unavoidable. However, legally, that isn’t the case. Car accidents caused by weather are still subject to state laws for car accident fault. Fault can still exist even when weather conditions are less than ideal.
Florida law uses negligence standards in order to determine fault for a car accident. Any driver whose behavior falls below reasonable levels of care can be responsible. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances.
Here are some of the common kinds of weather that can cause car accidents:
For example, there is a speed limit on the roads. A driver can go the speed limit when their vehicle is in good working order, traffic is light and the weather is good. However, if it’s raining heavily, the driver should slow down. If the car is somewhat older, smaller than most vehicles or if the tires are not in good repair, the driver has to think about these things.
Ultimately, it’s up to the driver to modify their behavior. Of course, when examples of weather-related car accidents occur, there may always be exceptions. If a driver is under a steep, rocky cliff, wind may cause a rock to blow down from the cliff. It might hit a vehicle and cause a chain reaction with several vehicles. In that case, the car accident results from the wind. It may not be the driver’s fault.
Most of the time, there is going to be an at-fault driver in a weather-related car accident. Determining who is to blame requires looking at individuals’ actions in light of weather and other factors. Once you learn how weather plays a role in the accident, it’s critical for the victim to develop the evidence in order to prove their case in court.
After you identify fault for a bad weather car accident, the next step becomes how to prove the facts of the accident. An experienced car accident attorney can help you identify the evidence that you need to prove the case.
For example, you need someone to testify to what the weather conditions were that day. You can find a qualified expert to testify to the day in question and how the weather conditions impacted the road conditions. They can testify in detail what each driver should have done to respond appropriately to the road conditions.
Ultimately, when the weather is a factor, having the right evidence and witnesses is critical to winning the case. Our Tampa personal injury attorneys can help you find the right experts for your situation. Having the evidence to prove the circumstances of the accident is just one crucial step to winning fair compensation for a victim.
If you’ve been in an accident, call our Tampa car accident attorneys today. We can help you understand what role the weather might play in your case. Contact us today at (813) 333-6666 to explore your case and learn what you might receive in compensation.