If weather caused my crash, who is at fault?
April 28, 2020
Springtime in North Texas often means uncertain weather. An abundance of rain can lead to less than ideal driving conditions. Low visibility can contribute to car crashes, and slick, wet roads are always a hazard. Wind, precipitation, fog and rain are all potentially hazardous variables that can impact driving conditions and lead to a crash. In a car crash where weather is involved, who is determined to be at fault?
In Texas and in most states, drivers are said to have a duty of care to travel and operate their vehicles in a safe manner for the given road and weather conditions. This means a variety of things given the circumstances. The challenge is that it is possible to lose control of your vehicle and cause a crash even for the most diligent and careful driver. In that situation, the driver would still be considered at fault despite taking precautions simply because drivers are expected to operate their vehicles responsibly, even in challenging circumstances. If a driver brakes too quickly in a rainstorm and skids into another vehicle causing an accident, that driver would be considered at fault and could be held liable. Drivers can also be held liable for equipment failures or simply failing to use vehicle equipment property if these things contribute to a crash – things like not using their windshield wipers, not maintaining windshield wipers, not maintaining tires, failing to use headlights or not maintaining headlights.
From 2007 to 2016, there were around 5.8 million crashes on American roads. Of those, approximately 21 percent were weather related. Weather-related car accident fatalities are far more common than severe weather-related deaths such as those resulting from hurricanes, tornadoes or flooding. The DOT estimated that 16 percent of car accident fatalities from 2007 to 2016 were from weather-related crashes.
Driving in any kind of inclement weather carries inherent risk. While many drivers may perceive that weather was to blame for a crash, weather can’t logically be a decision-maker. That’s why insurance companies view drivers as bearing responsibility for a crash even if poor weather was a factor. In any given situation, it is the responsibility of vehicle operators to maintain their equipment and drive safely to avoid a crash. If you hydroplane into another vehicle, it was your choice to get behind the wheel, and you are therefore responsible for any outcomes of that decision. Not adjusting to the conditions on the road may constitute negligence, and that’s why even weather-related crashes can present grounds for pursuing a personal injury claim.
So, what if you were in a car accident during a downpour and hit by someone who lost control of their vehicle? If you were injured in a weather-related crash because of someone else’s negligence, you should speak with a personal injury attorney to discuss your rights and possibility of recovering damages. When it comes to an accident-related injury, preserving your rights is our first priority. We will stop all incoming communication from the insurance company and medical bills collectors and make sure you have the help you need to heal.