Proving Fault for a Car Crash in Bad Weather

Car crashes can happen at any time and anywhere. However, when bad weather is involved, the chances of a crash increase exponentially. According to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly 22% of auto crashes each year occur in bad weather such as rain, sleet, snow, fog, heavy winds, or ice.

Since driving in adverse weather conditions is dangerous, many people believe they should not be held accountable for an accident because of weather conditions they cannot control. However it is the driver’s responsibility to adapt to road conditions. Drivers can be held responsible if they fail to drive cautiously during bad weather conditions.

Here are ways in which a driver can act negligently during times of inclement weather:

  • Not slowing down at appropriate times
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving with worn down tires
  • Failure to use headlights
  • Not removing or ignoring ice and/or snow from vehicle
Liability

When a car crash happens during bad weather, insurance companies and attorneys need a way to know whether or not a driver is at fault. Attorneys will look to see if:

  • The driver was driving at a reasonable rate of speed, according to conditions of the weather
  • The event of the weather was known, not an unexpected occurrence
  • The driver maintained a safe distance behind other vehicles
  • The driver could have avoided the accident
  • In most cases of weather-related accidents, the driver at fault can be held liable because the driver could have acted to prevent the accident

There are rare circumstances when a driver can use an “Act of God” defense to prove that they were not liable for the crash. Such defense is permissible when the weather was extremely unexpected or unusual and the driver would not have been able to avoid the accident.

However, a driver may be liable for a crash even if the weather was a contributing factor. Drivers need to drive cautiously when roads are slick and weather is bad. If you or a loved one were involved in a weather-related car accident, you have options to get the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation with our team of attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., contact us today.


Source: https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/q1_roadimpact.htm

https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/weather_events/snow_ice.htm#:~:text=Each%20year%2C%2024%20percent%20of,slushy%20or%20icy%20pavement%20annually.

https://www.thezebra.com/resources/research/winter-driving-statistics/

https://www.accuweather.com/en/winter-weather/the-3-major-causes-of-winter-accidents-and-how-to-avoid/667088

https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/legally-speaking-what-is-an-act-of-god-31732#:~:text=Acts%20of%20God%20provisions%2C%20also,earthquakes%2C%20or%20other%20natural%20disasters.&text=In%20contract%20law%2C%20an%20act,concepts%20of%20impossibility%20or%20impracticality