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The Weather Was Bad During My Accident, Who's At Fault?

The Weather Was Bad During My Accident, Who's At Fault?

Posted By The Dunnion Law Firm || 8-Dec-2016

There are many factors to take into consideration when determining who’s at fault in a car accident. Sometimes, there are factors beyond your control at play, such as bad winter weather. But such circumstances aren’t excuses to dismiss accidents as “nobody’s fault,” as juries and insurance companies simply use them the way the would any conditions or pieces of evidence in determining negligence or fault.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you likely need an experienced car accident attorney on your side. They will help you in determining whether you were at fault and the extent of negligence on either side of the accident. Here are some things to consider if you’ve been involved in a car accident that took place during inclement weather.

Who Was Negligent?

“Negligence” describes the idea that someone involved in a car accident must be at fault for it because they did not exercise the amount of care that the situation would call for from any reasonable individual. Negligence looks different depending on the specific circumstances of an accident; it encompasses actions one would or wouldn’t do if they were a reasonable person in such a situation.

When determining liability in car accident, negligence is the key factor. It is possible that the weather involved truly impacted your or the other driver’s ability to respond to the situation appropriately. However, weather is just one of many factors used in determining which driver was at fault. The “reasonable person” stipulation does not disappear with a bad storm. Rather, if there was bad weather occurring at the time of the accident, the jury or insurer would need to see that you still responded to the situation in a reasonable, careful way.

Liability in Bad Weather

Because of the increased hazards associated with bad weather—lower visibility, slippery roads, etc.—drivers are expected to adapt their driving to the situation at hand, for the safety of themselves, passengers, and other cars on the road. There may be other factors in determining negligence as well, such as both drivers’ speeds, potential levels of intoxication, road conditions, and distractions.

For example, assume it was raining just slightly, but not enough to impact the road conditions or visibility. In such a case, the weather may not be taken into account in determining negligence in a car accident case. But if it was a heavier rain, or otherwise worse weather, a reasonable person would be expected to act accordingly, and slow down their driving.

If you did not adjust your speed or other driving conditions during such weather, the insurance adjuster may find you at fault in the accident since you did not exercise the appropriate amount of care. Conversely, if you can prove that you did adjust your driving speed and safe distance in harsh conditions, but an accident occurred nonetheless, you may be able to fight liability placed on you.

Having an experienced car accident attorney on your side will only serve to benefit you in such cases. If you are in the areas of Monterey or San Jose, give us a call at Dunnion Law Firm today.

Categories: Auto Accident