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Does Time of Day Matter in a Personal Injury Case?

Many factors play into why a car accident occurs. Road conditions, weather, the behavior of the driver, and time of day can all play into why an accident occurs. However, does time of day make a significant difference when it comes to settling a personal injury matter?

We have asked a legal expert, attorney Alaina Sullivan, about how time of day may or may not affect a personal injury case. Here is what she had to say:

Determining Fault

In most states, fault is the major consideration when it comes to personal injury cases. One party has to be more to blame for why the accident happens, and this is usually due to negligent behavior of one or both of the drivers. Fault is not a one-way street, however.

Both drivers can play a part in why an accident happens. Fault can be divided between the parties based on their respective behavior.

Other factors can mitigate fault and reduce the reasoning for why the accident happened.

Mitigating Factors

Mitigating factors are those factors that can help alleviate some of the blame for why an accident happened. One type of mitigating factor can be bad weather.

If the driver is operating his or her vehicle in a sudden snow storm, the fact that the roads are slick and not easy to navigate can be a mitigating reason for why the accident occurred.

The time of day can also be a contributing factor for why an accident occurred. If it is dark outside and the driver is not able to see where he or she is driving, that factor can be considered.

Duty of Care While on the Road

However, despite the fact that mitigating factors exist, each driver on the road does have to follow a duty of care. This duty of care charges all drivers to operate their vehicle safely and reasonably while on the road.

The duty of care is not for the driver to operate the car safely in normal road conditions. It is for all road conditions. This means that the driver needs to operate his or her car safely in the snow, as well as in the dark.

This means operating the car safely while in the dark, including proper lighting and safety considerations.

Does Time of Day Matter in a Personal Injury Case?

Driver Circumstances Depending on Time of Day

Other considerations play into why a driver might not operate the car safely in the dark or in bright light. Some drivers do not drive well in the dark. It may be because of the difficulty seeing properly at dark, and if a driver needs to wear his or her glasses while out at night but fails to wear them and gets into an accident, that factor will play into negligence on his or her part.

If the driver knows that he or she cannot drive safely on the road at night but gets in the car regardless of this knowledge, that also plays into breaching a duty of care and being negligent on the road.

Aggravating Factors and Recklessness

That being said, these factors can also be considered aggravating. Just as road conditions and time of day can make the situation better for the driver who caused the accident, they can also make it worse for the driver.

As mentioned above, if the driver is aware that he or she cannot drive well in the dark without the assistance of glasses or if the driver is out on the road without lights but persists in getting behind the wheel, that can be an aggravating factor for why it occurred.

This behavior can even go to the point of recklessness, beyond pure negligence. If death or serious injury occurred because of the driver’s behavior and disregard for driving in the dark without proper accommodations, the injured party could say that the at-fault driver was acting recklessly.

That could increase the type of damages being sought to punitive damages. Punitive damages are only issued in extreme situations where the court is attempting to punish a party for bad behavior.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you have been in a car accident and are not sure if you need a lawyer, it never hurts to contact an attorney to ask any questions you may have. A licensed personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine if you have a claim against the other party’s insurance company.

To receive the compensation for your medical bills, property damages, and pain and suffering, you should speak with a personal injury attorney in your area today.