Bad Weather Can Cause Car Accidents
Fog, snow, ice, and rain are just some weather conditions that may contribute to a car accident. However, when drivers fail to operate their vehicles safely in these adverse conditions, they can bring about a severe crash. This is especially true when a bad weather accident happens when one or more drivers violate the speed limit.
If you suffered injuries in a car accident in bad weather, you should speak with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can meet with you to review the facts and circumstances of your accident. If another driver’s negligence caused or contributed to the accident, you can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer for damages.
Your lawyer can help you file the claim and, if necessary, litigate it in court. Moreover, your lawyer can represent you at all courtroom proceedings, including at your jury trial, and zealously advocate for your legal interests there.
Bad Weather That Contributes to Car Crashes
Inclement weather can sometimes contribute to a car crash. Some of the most common types of bad weather that lead to car accidents include:
- Fog – Fog is a cloud that forms low to the ground. Fog typically materializes at night or after a severe rainstorm and may cause decreased visibility for drivers. When foggy conditions persist, drivers should operate their vehicles slowly and use their headlights. Otherwise, they can cause a severe accident with another car that leads to personal injuries and significant property damage.
- Rain – Rainy conditions often create slippery driving surfaces. When a driver goes too fast over wet pavement, their vehicle can hydroplane, causing the wheels to lose contact with the ground. In turn, the driver may lose control over their car, causing it to strike another vehicle or pedestrian in the vicinity.
- Ice and snow – Similar to rain, ice and snow can create slippery driving conditions. Drivers must operate their vehicles with reasonable care in snow or ice. Specifically, they must not speed, and they should use four-wheel drive if their vehicle is so equipped. When a driver speeds in snow and ice, they may lose complete control over their vehicle, causing a severe accident.
What Is a Driver’s Legal Duty of Care?
When drivers operate their vehicles in bad weather, they must drive safely and responsibly. They can do this by using the appropriate headlight settings, using their windshield wipers, decreasing their speeds, and otherwise being vigilant. When drivers violate this duty of care in bad weather and cause an accident, they and their insurance companies can be responsible.
In addition to proving that a driver violated their legal duty, an accident victim must establish other legal elements to recover monetary compensation for their injuries. Specifically, they must show that they suffered at least one injury in their accident and that the accident was the cause of their injuries.
When it comes time to prove the legal elements of your injury claim or lawsuit, your lawyer may need to retain experts to testify at a discovery deposition or jury trial. For instance, your lawyer can hire an accident reconstructionist to piece together what happened in the accident and determine the likely cause. In reaching this determination, the accident reconstructionist may need to review police reports and any eyewitness statements that a police officer collected at the scene.
In addition, your lawyer may need to retain a medical expert who can causally connect your injuries to the accident. Medical experts, including treating healthcare providers, can also establish to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that you suffered a permanent injury in your accident.
If you suffered injuries in a bad weather accident, your lawyer can determine if you should file a claim. If so, your lawyer can help you throughout the process and work to pursue the fair monetary compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Car Accidents That Result From Bad Weather and Negligent Driving
Although bad weather contributes to some car accidents, negligent driving is usually also a component.
When drivers operate their vehicle negligently in adverse weather conditions, they can cause several types of accidents, including:
- Rear-end accidents – When a driver operates their vehicle too fast in rain, snow, or ice, they may not slow down in time to avoid a rear-end crash. A rear-end accident happens when the front of a vehicle collides with the back of another car. These accidents are common at intersections and highways when traffic slows down quickly.
- Broadside collisions – A broadside collision, or T-bone accident, happens when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of a second vehicle. These accidents can occur when a driver attempts to merge onto a highway but fails to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle or at a traffic intersection, where a driver runs a stop sign, yield sign, or red traffic light. In bad weather, a driver who speeds may continue gliding through an intersection, even if they attempt to stop. Consequently, a severe accident may occur that causes the vehicle on the receiving end to spin around or overturn completely, causing the occupants to suffer severe injuries.
- Sideswipe accidents – Drivers who operate their vehicles in inclement weather conditions must be sure to drive slowly enough not to veer into another travel lane. When that happens on a multi-lane highway, a sideswipe accident can occur. A sideswipe occurs when the sides of two vehicles strike one another, often causing severe property damage and personal injuries to the vehicle occupants.
- Head-on crashes – Head-on collisions typically happen on dual roadways with one travel lane in each direction. In a head-on collision, the fronts of two vehicles strike one another. When drivers operate their vehicles in bad weather, they must stay in their lane, obey no-passing signs, and refrain from crossing the centerline or median strip. If they drive too fast in rain, snow, or ice, they might hydroplane or completely lose control over their vehicle, veering into the other travel lane and striking an oncoming vehicle head-on. When these accidents happen at high speeds, they can result in severe injuries and sometimes fatalities.
If you or someone you care about suffered injuries in a bad weather accident, speak with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can determine if you are eligible for monetary compensation and, if so, file the necessary claim or lawsuit for you.
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Injuries that Occur in Bad-weather Car Accidents
Bad weather car accidents can leave victims severely injured, incapacitated, and in pain. An accident victim’s injuries in a bad weather crash depend on the impact force and how their body moves in the car at the time of impact. For example, in a bad weather crash, the accident victim’s body can hit the steering wheel, windshield, or dashboard, breaking bones and damaging the brain.
Victims of bad weather car crashes may also sustain soft tissue contusions, severe head injuries, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, cuts, and bruises that require immediate medical treatment.
If you don’t know whether you suffered an injury in your accident, immediately follow up at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center. When you seek this same-day medical treatment, the provider on duty can examine you, take the necessary imaging studies including CAT scans, MRIs, and X-rays and make a thorough medical diagnosis. If you require treatment at the emergency room facility, the provider can get you the necessary treatment. Finally, the provider can recommend follow-up treatment if you need it.
Seeking immediate medical treatment is also essential for your injury case. If you fail to seek treatment immediately, or if you fail to treat continuously for your injuries, the insurance company will likely become skeptical. Many insurance company adjusters assume that when accident victim delays their medical treatment, their injuries are not severe. Treating early and often for your car accident injuries increases the chances that you will recover favorable compensation through settlement or litigation.
Filing a Claim Arising From a Bad Weather Car Accident
If you suffered injuries in a bad weather car accident that involved a negligent driver, a car accident lawyer can file a claim for monetary compensation.
First, your lawyer will submit a settlement demand letter, copies of your medical records, lost wage statements, and related documents to the insurance company for review. If the insurance company accepts fault for your accident, the adjuster handling your claim can negotiate with your lawyer.
Suppose the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement for your accident-related injuries. Then, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and pursue the compensation you deserve through litigation.
Deadline to File a Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit for Damages
Victims of bad weather car accidents only have two years from their accident date to file a claim or lawsuit for damages against the responsible party. If the accident victim does not file their lawsuit on time, they cannot recover monetary compensation. Therefore, retain an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you in your case immediately after your accident.
Your lawyer can promptly file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf to safeguard the statute of limitations from running. Even after filing suit, your lawyer can continue settlement negotiations with the insurance company and work to recover the compensation you need.
Potential Damages in Bad Weather Car Accident Cases
Victims of bad weather car accidents often suffer severe injuries that require extended medical treatment and missed work time. Accident victims who suffer permanent injuries may experience pain and suffering for the remainder of their lives.
All car accident cases are different, and not all accident victims will recover the same amount of damages. The damages an accident victim recovers often depend on their medical treatment and the severity of their pain and other symptoms. Potential monetary compensation following a car accident includes damages for lost wages and loss of earning capacity if the accident victim had to switch jobs at a lower pay rate.
Car accident victims can also recover compensation for their inconvenience, pain, suffering, mental distress, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of spousal companionship.
Your lawyer will do everything possible to help you maximize your financial compensation via a personal injury claim or lawsuit. If the insurance company refuses to offer you the compensation you need, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate your case in court.
Call an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today
Bad weather car accidents can cause debilitating injuries, some of which are permanent. If you suffered injuries in your car accident, you are not alone.
An experienced and compassionate car accident lawyer can guide you through the claims-filing and litigation processes, answer your questions, and work to attain full and fair compensation for your injuries. Your lawyer will zealously advocate for you during settlement negotiations and, if necessary, during courtroom litigation at a civil jury trial.
Many people think they cannot recover compensation after bad weather accidents. While you cannot hold the rain, snow, or sleet, liable for your injuries, there might be negligent drivers at fault, and they should be responsible for covering your losses. Seek a legal evaluation of your options today.