Bad weather can change road conditions in the blink of an eye. Spring and summer can be especially risky for Alabama drivers as thunderstorms and high winds can come out of nowhere.
If you were in an accident and bad weather was a factor, you may wonder how the conditions might affect the outcome of your case. Here’s what you need to know about weather conditions and your car accident.
Liability for a collision is determined by the evidence available. This can include photos of the damages, eyewitness accounts, and info from the police report, among other things. Weather conditions are factored into liability, but the actions of all the parties involved are scrutinized to determine who is liable for the crash.
Liability dictates the compensation an accident victim can recover. This is an especially tricky concept in Alabama, as the state follows the rule of contributory negligence. This means that an injured driver cannot recover compensation if they are found to be at fault for any part in causing the accident.
Consider the example of a bad weather accident. If it was raining heavily, but one driver was speeding, it may be determined that the weather contributed to the crash, but the speeding driver’s careless actions ultimately caused the accident.
To recover compensation from an insurance company for your damages, you need strong evidence that demonstrates how other driver’s negligence in bad weather conditions caused the collision.
If you were injured by a negligent driver in an accident during bad weather, you should be able to hold them accountable and recover compensation for your injuries, expenses, and other losses. Bad weather may have been a factor in the collision, but that doesn’t absolve the other driver of responsibility. They still owed you a duty of care to drive safely.
Though many car accident cases settle, sometimes going to trial may be necessary if a fair agreement for compensation can’t be reached. If your case goes to trial, your attorney will work with you to collect and present evidence showing that the other driver caused the crash by acting carelessly in bad weather.
More than one party could also be liable in your case. For example, the weather may have worsened road conditions that were already dangerous. In that case, you’ll need to enlist the help of an attorney with experience in handling cases against government agencies. These types of claims can be complicated; however, your car accident lawyer should know how to building the strongest possible case to recover the compensation you deserve.
Weather conditions that can affect driving and cause accidents include:
Rain and wet roads are the most common weather conditions affecting safe driving. Slick roads can double your stopping distance compared to dry roads. It’s challenging to see in a downpour, so effective windshield wipers are essential. If drivers don’t turn on their lights and slow down accordingly in the rain, the decreased visibility can create a recipe for disaster.
Standing water and flooding is another water-related risk for drivers. Even moving a little too fast through shallow water can cause your vehicle to hydroplane and make you lose control of the vehicle.
Heavy rain and flooding can also lead to washouts, commonly in rural areas with older roads. Never try to drive through standing water, as even seemingly shallow flooding could conceal a washout or carry your car off the road.
Thick fog can reduce visibility just as much as a heavy rainstorm, sometimes making it impossible for drivers to see what’s more than a few feet ahead of them.
Though snow and ice on the roads aren’t common in Alabama winters, the rarity of wintry weather can make things riskier for drivers with little experience navigating these hazards. In addition, some areas of the state may lack the resources and infrastructure to respond quickly in the event of snow, giving it time to melt and refreeze as dangerous black ice.
Wind can be a dangerous hazard, especially when large vehicles like trucks are moving at high speeds. An unexpected gust can push cars off the road and make high-profile vehicles difficult to control.
If you need help following a bad weather crash, the car accident lawyers at Belt, Bruner & Barnett P.C., are here to help. Our team will investigate the cause of the accident and consider how weather conditions contributed, collect evidence to support your claim, and negotiate to recover the max compensation possible.