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Bad Weather and Auto Accidents - Who is at Fault?

If you are involved in a car crash during bad weather conditions, the insurance company may attempt to deny your claim by blaming the accident on the inclement weather. In most cases, weather does not cause accidents. People cause auto accidents by failing to take proper care to drive safely regardless of the weather conditions, and, most likely, at least one party to the accident was guilty of negligence.

We can't sue bad weather to recover compensation for your injuries. We can, however, recover damages from a negligent driver who did not take reasonable care to drive safely under adverse conditions such as:

  • Heavy rain and thunderstorms. Heavy rain can cause poor visibility and hydroplaning, and drivers must slow their speed to compensate or even pull off the road until the hazard passes or decreases.
  • Fog. Drivers must slow their speed and use low beam headlights when driving through heavy fog.
  • Snow or sleet. Roads can quickly become icy and slick when it begins to snow or sleet, and drivers must slow their speed and brake well in advance to avoid sliding.
  • Smoke. Smoke from forest fires or other sources can decrease visibility as much as or even more than heavy rain or fog.
  • Glare from the sun. Drivers must anticipate when sun glare will affect their driving, and a reasonable driver will protect their vision using appropriate window tint, sunglasses, and sun visors.

How do We Determine Liability When Bad Weather Contributes to an Auto Accident?

The negligent party is responsible for damages caused by their actions whether it is a sunny day or a raging thunderstorm. The standard of care is always going to be: What would a reasonable person have done under similar circumstances?

On a normal day, the posted speed limits apply. But, when there is inclement weather that limits a driver's visibility or causes the roads to become slippery, a reasonably prudent driver is expected to slow down to a speed that is safe under the conditions or even to pull off the road and stop during extreme weather conditions. If a driver is traveling at the posted speed limit on icy roads and slides into other motorists, they are most likely negligent and will be at fault in the accident. Responding officers will often cite a driver for the offense of driving too fast for conditions which may be considered per se negligence if the at fault driver is convicted of the offense.

Other evidence of negligence may include faulty equipment on their vehicle or the other driver's intoxication. Driving in inclement weather with bald tires, broken windshield wipers, or faulty lights may also be evidence of negligence on the part of the at-fault driver.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.

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