Car accidents happen every day. Bad weather makes auto accidents even more likely to happen. When collisions happen due to inclement weather, determining who is at fault and liable for any damages can become complicated. As in any other accident, car accident attorneys must prove negligence to determine liability; however, the definition of negligence could change based on the driving conditions. Both personal injury lawyers and insurance companies must consider what reasonable behavior is based on these conditions in order to determine liability.
Determining Liability Based On Negligence
When discussing car accidents resulting in injuries and other damages, insurance companies and personal injury lawyers must first determine whether any negligence was displayed and by whom. Negligence is when a person does something carelessly, or in such a way as to not having acted in a responsible or safe manner, either of which resulted in injuries and/or damages. Sometimes each party is partially negligent and the amount of negligence each is responsible for must be considered. In any case, it is essential to decide how negligence plays a part in a car accident in order to assign liability.
Reasonable Actions Differ In Bad Weather
Claims of negligence are judged on what is considered to a reasonable action that a sensible person would display. For example, a reasonable person should know they are required to stop at a stop sign. Therefore, a person who does not stop and hits a pedestrian has not acted reasonably according to what is expected of them. There could be underlying reasons why that person acted unreasonably; however, as far as the act of hitting the pedestrian is concerned, the driver that did not stop would be found negligent.
Bad weather frequently changes the definition of what is seen as a reasonable action that should be displayed in order to not be considered negligent. Weather can affect how vehicles respond in certain conditions, making drivers accidentally negligent. The common argument with this is that drivers have a responsibility to understand driving conditions and alter what is reasonable in the specific circumstance based on those conditions. Since every situation is different, determining what is reasonable is only a part of this entire, complex situation.
Other Contributing Factors
Sometimes even when drivers do everything right and understand they need to act accordingly because of the weather, car accidents still happen due to other contributing factors. These factors could be anything from driving with tires that are worn or there being a pothole in the road that caused the car to go out of control. Determining whether any negligence has been displayed, even when a driver has acted reasonably, must also be contemplated. Did the driver fail to get their tires replaced when they should have or was there a defect in the tire? The possibilities that may contribute to an auto accident are countless and must be considered on a case-by-case basis.
It is important for drivers to understand the various factors involved in determining liability in a car accident. Car accident attorneys and insurance companies must give accidents that occur in bad weather an even closer review in order to fairly determine fault. Someone is usually more liable than the other party, particularly when injuries are involved. Still, how personal injury lawyers proceed in cases involving bad weather accidents may differ, just as circumstances surrounding the accident do!
Maurer Law, PLLC
505 West Riverside, Suite 400
Spokane WA 99201