Florida is known for ideal weather conditions year-round, but Floridians know that severe storms can occur when you least expect them.
While many believe that bad weather conditions cause many car accidents, there are still around 237,000 accidents per year in the Sunshine State.
But, what happens when you are in an accident involving bad weather? Who is liable for injuries and damages? Keep reading to find out.
How Is Liability Determined?
In an accident involving bad weather, it’s a little more difficult to determine liability. Weather conditions can cause or contribute to vehicle accidents, but insurance companies will usually investigate the real cause.
Insurers will review evidence from the scene, like photographs, to gain insight into what happened. The insurance provider will use this information to piece together the facts of the crash.
It’s important that you always call the police after an accident so that they can create an accident report. The police report will be used as evidence to determine fault as well.
The insurance company will try to figure out the negligent party by looking at the police report and other evidence that you provide. Whether there is bad weather or not, drivers are expected to behave in a reasonable manner on the roads.
Duty of Care
Every driver owes a duty of care to other drivers on the road. When the weather is bad, drivers must exercise extra caution.
For instance, you could argue that driving in bad weather caused you to hydroplane which lead to a car accident. This could be true, but the insurance company might find that you were going too fast for wet weather conditions.
Reasonable precautions that all drivers should take before driving in bad weather include:
- Winterizing tires
- Scraping ice from windows and the windshield
- Inspecting and replacing windshield wipers when needed
- Checking coolant
- Checking tire pressure
Bad weather will help determine what duty of care drivers are required to use on the road. The thing to remember is that bad weather is only one factor that can cause a vehicle accident.
If you were the victim of a weather-related car accident, but the other driver didn’t take necessary precautions while on the road, you could recover damages through their insurance provider.
A great car accident lawyer can argue that you aren’t liable by proving that the other driver failed to provide a duty of care during bad weather.
Who Is at Fault?
Determining car accident liability is always tricky, but it is especially difficult when bad weather is an element. If you aren’t at fault for the accident, the other driver or the road maintenance team could be at fault.
If another driver crashed into you during a bad rainstorm, don’t assume the crash was unavoidable due to the weather. Always hire an attorney to look into the true reason behind the collision.
It’s common for a crash in bad weather to involve human error and negligent drivers.
A driver that doesn’t weatherproof their vehicle by checking windshield wipers, visibility and lights before driving could be partially responsible for the crash.
A car accident might be initially attributed to bad weather, but an investigation of the car accident might be necessary to assign fault to the other driver. Storms can attribute to the crash without being the only reason for a collision.
If another driver is only partially to blame for the accident, they could be responsible for paying for some of your damages.
Road Maintenance Team
Already dangerous road conditions can worsen in bad weather. For instance, if a guardrail is missing on the road, a driver could be sent careening off the road in wet conditions.
When hazardous road conditions contribute to a driver’s accident, the entity responsible for road maintenance might be partially at fault. Some examples of dangerous road defects include:
- Damaged roads
- Tree limbs and debris
- Malfunctioning stoplights
- Uneven shoulders
- Obstructed street signs
- Poorly designed roads
If another party would have recognized the road hazard and repaired it sooner than the current owner of the road, that person could be liable for an accident involving bad weather.
Cases against independent road owners and government owners are much harder to win. You will need help from an attorney to prove a property owner’s responsibility for an accident in bad weather.
Accident Involving Bad Weather in a No-Fault State
Florida is a no-fault state so you most likely can recover damages from your own insurance provider if you get into an accident involving bad weather.
If you want to recover additional compensation beyond your own coverage, you need to prove another driver or road maintenance team was at fault for causing the crash.
Without evidence, it will be difficult to recover damages from the at-fault party. When you get into an accident, this evidence will help prove the other party’s negligence:
- Weather reports
- Police report
- Photos and videos from the scene
- Surveillance footage
- Witness statements
It’s important that you bring this evidence to your lawyer so that they can begin to build a case in your favor. If you are unable to take photos and videos yourself due to injuries, ask a witness to help you out.
The police report should include witness statements, but you should talk to witnesses yourself if you can. Ask for their contact information in case you need to speak with them later on in the claims process.
Surveillance footage might be available if the crash occurred near a business with an outdoor security camera system. It never hurts to ask to have the best chance of receiving compensation.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer Now!
Determining liability after a car accident isn’t black and white, especially if bad weather was involved.
If you were in an accident involving bad weather in Florida, you can receive compensation based on your insurance coverage because Florida is a no-fault state.
To recover more damages from the at-fault party, you’ll need the help of a lawyer. Schedule a free video consultation with us now to talk about possible compensation for a weather-related car crash.
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.