If you have been injured in an accident, you might be considering filing a personal injury claim so you can recover your losses or the damages that you incurred as a result of the accident. If the accident happened during inclement weather, you might wonder if that will impact your personal injury claim.
The weather, after all, can play a significant role in many things including traffic accidents. The circumstances of the claim will be carefully reviewed by the investigating officer and the personal injury attorney to determine what impact, if any, the weather will have on your claim's outcome.
The Liability Issue and Responsibility
While liability is a major part of a car accident claim, it can become complicated to establish full liability if the driver who was placed at fault blames the weather for the accident. While the investigation will consider the weather when determining what caused the accident, the driver who was at fault is still liable because drivers are expected to use additional caution and take preventive measures when driving in bad weather, such as a thunderstorm, downpour, severe winds, or ice and snow on the road.
Inclement Weather's Role in the Crash
Bad weather can significantly impact driving. Snow and rain can impact your visibility. Fog can limit how far you can see ahead of you. Ice, snow, and puddled water on the roads can impact your vehicle's traction and cause vehicles to hydroplane or spin out of control and hit other objects or vehicles.
Bad weather can negatively impact driving, but some drivers may not follow the recommended procedures for driving in bad weather. Some drivers might drive too fast in bad weather or tailgate other vehicles, both of which can increase the chances of a crash. When the weather is bad, the driver should slow down and drive accordingly, being ready to take proper actions if the car hydroplanes or slides.
Evidence Needed To Help Support Your Claim
If you have been involved in an accident that took place during inclement weather, you may be able to recover compensation for the damages that you suffered because of the crash. While the inclement weather could pay a role in the crash, you can still pursue a personal injury claim if you have proof that the other driver was at fault because he or she acted negligently.
When you can prove negligence, you have a strong personal injury claim. Your accident injury attorney will help you gather supporting evidence and documentation that shows that your crash was caused by negligence.
Always call the police, you will want an accident report filed. The accident report will indicate the weather at the time of the crash, but it will also make notes of any other problems and contributors to the accident.
Ask any witnesses to provide statements. Their information may be what you need to show that your accident wasn’t just because of the weather but because of a driver’s negligence.
You should also get photos of the accident scene, of the placement of the vehicles, and of the damages the vehicles suffered. You should establish medical care right away and be sure to keep copies of medical records and medical bills.
Be sure to keep any tow bills and rental car receipts. You should also get a written repair estimate from a qualified automotive repair facility. Be sure to document any missed work and lost wages as well. Documentation is essential to your personal injury claim, and you want to be able to prove your damage and show the total of your losses.
If you can show that the other driver was negligent, you can have a successful personal injury claim. There are four elements of negligence, and all four must be proven as they apply to your situation and this specific accident. The four elements of negligence include duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Every driver has a duty or a responsibility to drive safely, adhere to traffic regulations, and protect others from harm. That is the first element.
If the driver tailgates, speeds, or disobeys traffic laws, then the duty has been breached. If that breach of duty causes an accident – as an example, the driver was following to closely and rear-ends you, then the breach of duty caused a crash. If being rear-ended caused you to suffer a back and neck injury and damaged your car, then you have suffered damages from the crash caused by the driver’s breach of duty.
There is something that is called the “reasonable person” standard. The reasonable person is crafted by the courts and communicated through case law and instruction to the jury.
Using this scenario, the court considers what a reasonable or normal man would have done or how he would have acted in the same situation. As an example, if a reasonable person would have driven at or below the speed limit because of the rain, and you were driving 15 miles over that speed limit, that will be considered.
If you are driving in bad weather, you should be alert and use care. Always watch for the other drivers because they may not be as attentive to the weather conditions.
You should always stay on the lookout for drivers who drive careless and who may not be as cautious when bad weather hits. Each driver has to use extra care when behind the wheel.
When the personal injury claim is filed, the insurance company will look at all aspects of the accident and work to determine what went wrong and why it happened. There are several factors that will be taken into consideration besides the weather.
Some of the other more common contributing factors, such as the speed of the vehicles, if there was alcohol involved, if either driver was under the influence of drugs, if there were distractions, such as the driver eating, texting, or messing with the radio, that will be consideration.
The insurance company is in business to make money, and not spend it. They will want to negotiate as little settlement as possible. When you send your demand letter, you should be prepared to negotiate with the insurance company.
They will most likely either reject your claim, or they will make a counteroffer. Have an idea as to what the minimum amount of compensation you are willing to accept.
A personal injury lawyer will be able to help you determine the value of your claim. With the help of an accident injury attorney, you can rest assured that your rights are protected and that you are being treated fairly throughout the claims process.
The auto insurer will likely have legal representation that is looking out for the insurance company and their customer. You should make sure you have representation as well.
Considering The Weather
Drivers should be skilled enough to take extra precautions when there is bad weather. Rain, snow, and ice can make for slippery conditions and will make it more difficult to come to a stop.
You should adjust your speed accordingly, and you should use extra caution when you are driving in such weather. While the weather could play a role in the accident, they will also consider if the driver was driving for the current weather conditions. Failing to use extra care in bad weather is negligence.
If you have been in accident during inclement weather, you should talk with a personal injury lawyer who handles auto accident claims in your area. With the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can get your claim underway before time runs out.
Every state has a statute of limitations – or a deadline – for pursuing a claim. If you wait too long, you cannot recover damages. Don’t postpone getting the help you need to recover compensation for your losses. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form today.
Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
If you were injured in a car accident during bad weather, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney will be able to assess the situation. When the insurance claim is being considered, the weather will not let the driver at fault go without paying for damages. Drivers who caused the crash will be held liable for the damages that they caused.
A personal injury attorney can go over the documents and determine which damages you are entitled to receive and what would be fair compensation for you losses. Damages that you might be entitled to receive include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damages. Personal injury attorneys are paid on a contingency basis, you so you won't have to pay any fees up front because the lawyer won't be paid until you have won your claim and it has been settled. You should schedule a consultation to discuss your personal injury claim right away so you can ensure your rights are protected.