Who Is at Fault in Bad Weather Car Accidents?
Car accidents can cause significant physical, emotional, and financial stress. Many car accidents that happen in average weather conditions because of distraction or recklessness occur daily. However, safe and attentive drivers can also become victims of car accidents during bad weather conditions. According to the Department of Transportation, 21% of motor vehicle crashes in the United States are caused by bad weather. Inclement weather can cause many different types of dangerous driving conditions. If you have been involved in a bad weather car accident in Charlotte, you may be wondering who was at fault and how you can obtain compensation.Causes of Bad Weather Car Accidents
There are many ways in which bad weather can cause car accidents. Weather conditions like heavy fog can affect a person's ability to see, making driving unsafe. Other weather conditions, such as ice, rain, and snow, can create slick pavement due to the mixture of oil, moisture, dust, and debris on the road's surfaces.
Many people think of ice and snow conditions as being the most dangerous. However, the sun's glare on sunny days can also cause severe visibility impairments and be hazardous for drivers. Because driving is dangerous during bad weather, many people believe that someone should be held responsible for an accident that happens during bad weather. Nonetheless, drivers can be held liable for bad accidents in some cases.Who is Liable in Weather-Related Car Accidents?
Bad weather may be the cause of your weather-related car accident, but trying to pursue compensation for bad weather is impossible. Suppose you have been in a bad weather car accident. In that case, the individual operating the vehicle that caused the accident will not use the weather as an excuse for any type of negligent driving. In many lousy weather driving accidents, the weather combined with a driver or drivers' negligence causes the accident.
Every driver on the road has a duty to operate their vehicle safely and prevent injury to other people. Because of those unsafe conditions, they need to exercise a higher level of care when driving in bad weather conditions. Drivers should take extra precautions to avoid an accident during inclement weather. These precautions can include the following:
- Pulling over when visibility is poor
- Using hazard lights
- Driving under the speed limit
- Ensuring the vehicle is safe to operate
Road conditions are one consideration when car accidents happen. The driver that lost control of the vehicle will usually be responsible for any damage he or she caused. All drivers can be held liable for their injuries for this reason.Can I Recover Compensation?
If you have been injured in a bad weather accident, you are probably wondering whether you can recover compensation. You will only be able to recover compensation through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit if you can establish the other driver's negligence. Negligence refers to the use of reasonable care under the circumstances. Doing so can be considered negligence when a driver does not practice proper caution in hazardous weather conditions. The following examples are ways that drivers can be found negligent and, therefore, liable for driving in poor weather conditions:
- Driving at an unsafe speed that does not take into account the weather conditions
- Driving with the knowledge of the unsafe weather conditions
- Taking a turn at an accelerated speed on slippery pavement
- Not leaving enough distance between vehicles
- Failure to use headlights in poor visibility conditions
- Failure to maintain worn-out tires, weak brakes, malfunctioning lights, or ineffective windshield wipers
If you can prove that the other driver acted negligently while driving in bad weather conditions, you can pursue compensation from them. In North Carolina, plaintiffs in personal injury cases are entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are easily quantifiable damages, such as medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and future medical expenses. You are also entitled to non-economic damages for disability, disfigurement, and pain and suffering. You might be entitled to additional punitive damages if the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly.Contact a Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney
If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in a bad weather car accident, you owe it to yourself to discuss your case with an attorney. Even if you are not sure whether you or the other driver is at fault, it is worth taking the time to learn about your legal options. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, today to schedule your free initial consultation.