You were on the road during bad weather, and you were in an accident. You know that bad weather conditions make driving difficult, but you feel that the accident was the other driver's fault, and now you're left with injuries, medical bills, and other damages. What do you do? Do you have a case if your accident happens during bad weather?
In most cases, you can still have a legitimate car accident claim. To get the outcome and the compensation you need and deserve for your weather-related car accident, you need a car accident lawyer you can trust and on whom you can rely. Burger Law and the Burger Law legal team have years of experience and hundreds of successful car accident settlements. Talk to us about your car accident for free by calling (314) 542-2222.
Do I have a case if my accident happened during bad weather?
Driving during inclement weather can be scary; it can also be dangerous. Weather conditions contribute to approximately 21% of auto accidents in the United States every year, and 16% of all auto accident deaths. Bad weather can lead to accidents, but it can make accidents even more severe and destructive than they would otherwise have been in milder weather.
But when weather conditions make it so difficult to control a vehicle, it can seem like these accidents are unavoidable - that they are nobody's fault. If you are in an accident during bad weather conditions, can you still receive compensation for your injuries?
Weather can complicate a car or truck accident case, but it does not absolve a negligent driver from responsibility if they cause an accident. When you are in an accident where bad weather plays a role, certain factors take special consideration in your case.
Duty of Care: Driving in Bad Weather
To have any sort of personal injury claim, a plaintiff must show first, that the defendant had a duty of care towards the plaintiff, and, second, that that duty of care was breached, causing the plaintiff harm. In a normal car accident case, drivers have a general duty of care to all other roadway users to drive safely and to follow traffic laws, so as not to put other drivers and passengers in harm.
When poor weather occurs, it affects the safety of the roads and makes it harder for drivers to control their vehicles. This is commonly known. As such, drivers have a special duty of care when driving during rainfall, snowfall, icy or wet roads, and other potentially dangerous weather conditions. Drivers are obliged to adapt to weather conditions and take the necessary precautions. This could mean driving slower than the normal speed limit, allowing more room between their car and other cars, using windshield wipers, using the appropriate light beams, and other adjustments as appropriate.
Negligence Per Se
Both Missouri and Illinois courts operate under the principle of negligence per se. Negligence per se is a guiding legal principle that states that a person is legally considered negligent if their behavior violates a law or statute meant to protect people, and that behavior resulted in a person's injury or injuries. It can help prove liability in many car accident cases, including some bad weather accidents.
For example, if a driver runs a red light, they have broken the law. If that driver impacts another vehicle and injures someone, they are automatically considered at-fault for the accident. In the case of bad weather, Missouri Statute 304.0123 RSMo. instructs Missouri drivers to "drive the vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or the life or limb of any person and shall exercise the highest degree of care," which can include driving at a speed slower than the posted speed limit when the weather conditions are poor. A more explicit example is 307.020 RSMo, which directs drivers when they must use headlights and that headlights must be used when windshield wipers are necessary. If a driver does not have their headlights on and hits another car, the court sees them as liable without the need to further prove their negligence.
When a Claim Can Be Denied
There are very few instances where the driver is not responsible for an accident. The other driver may attempt to blame the weather for the accident, but in truth, the vast majority of motor accidents that take place are due, at least in part, to human error. There is often a way to show that the driver's actions contributed to the accident in some way. But you must also prove that your injuries and other damages occurred as a result of the accident and not any other cause.
There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. It is only when the conditions were completely beyond the driver's control that they could be excused from fault. If the weather event was sudden and unforeseen, such as a bolt of lightning striking the car or a tornado moving the vehicle to another lane, it could be decided that the driver had no fault. This is rare, however, because in most cases, motorists are aware of the bad weather or the possibility of bad weather, and have to make a decision to get on the road anyway.
Bad Weather Car Accident Lawyer | Burger Law
It can be intimidating to bring a car accident claim for an accident that happened during bad weather. That bad weather accident caused you harm and damages, and you deserve to be made whole with adequate compensation. For accidents that happen during bad weather, you need the expert assistance of Burger Law's car accident lawyers. Call us today at (314) 542-2222 or send us a message to get started on your car accident case today.