Ohio gets its fair share of bad weather. Bad weather is a frequent cause of accidents, whether someone is speeding down the freeway in a snowstorm or hydroplanes on the way home from school. About 21 percent of all car accidents are weather related. How is liability determined when weather conditions cause an accident?
You might assume that because the weather caused the accident, no one should be held liable. Insurance companies often disagree.
Weather-related accident statistics
According to the Federal Highway Administration, “Weather-related crashes are defined as those crashes that occur in adverse weather (i.e., rain, sleet, snow, fog, severe crosswinds, or blowing snow/sand/debris) or on slick pavement (i.e., wet pavement, snowy/slushy pavement, or icy pavement). On average, nearly 5,000 people are killed and over 418,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes each year.”
Wet pavement and rainfall are responsible for the majority of weather-related accidents: 70 percent occur on wet pavement, and 46 percent occur while it’s raining. Only 18 percent take place during the snow, and 13 percent on icy pavement. Regardless, when any of these conditions are present, it’s important that you take extra care while driving.
Negligence and weather-related accidents
Proving fault in a car accident usually requires showing that one party acted negligently. That is, they failed to meet a reasonable standard of care while driving in poor weather. This could include:
- Failing to take appropriate safety precautions, such as slowing down or turning on lights
- Failing to leave enough room between cars
- Taking turns at dangerous speeds
- Going out in weather unsafe for driving
- Poor vehicle maintenance, such as worn-out or inappropriate tires, or malfunctioning wipers, brakes or lights
Proving that the other party is at fault may include one or more of these facts. However, it’s important to remember that if the weather is too unsafe to drive in, you should stay home unless it’s an emergency. All drivers have an obligation to take safety precautions, including knowing when it’s too dangerous to drive.
If you’re not sure whether you can hold another driver at fault in a weather-related accident, talk to a lawyer. An experienced personal injury lawyer can review your case and let you know whether you’re likely to succeed on the facts of the case. Even if you were partially to blame, there may still be compensation available.
Call an Ohio personal injury lawyer today
When you get in touch with me, you can learn more about the merits of your case. If another person or party is responsible for your injuries, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Do not hesitate to get in touch with me at 877.483.2298 so that I can evaluate your case as soon as possible.