How Weather Reports Can Support Your Case in Weather Related Car Accidents
A car accident involves a cross-section of any number of factors. Some you can control, some you can’t. For example, while you can control your wipers and headlights, you can’t control the weather that might demand you to use them.
However, you can use weather reports to back up your claims of what happened in weather related car accidents.
Here’s how weather reports can help support your case and how an attorney can help ensure that the evidence is interpreted correctly.
The Legality of Driving in Bad Weather
The weather outside may be frightful, but that doesn’t mean you can stay away from where you need to go. It also doesn’t excuse you from your legal responsibilities as a driver, either.
As a driver with a responsibility to those in your car and to other cars around you, you are expected to drive safely regardless of the weather conditions.
So if the weather conditions are bad, you are responsible for ensuring that you drive safely in them. If you make a mistake, like driving too fast or hydroplaning through a stop sign, causing a crash, you can be held liable for that crash.
This has to do with two key legal concepts: negligence and duty of care.
Duty of Care in Weather Related Car Accidents
In personal injury law, duty of care is a legal obligation to refrain from inflicting harm, maintaining a standard level of reasonable care when performing any act that could foreseeably cause harm to someone else.
And since driving is one of the most dangerous actions we perform on a daily basis, that includes driving (especially in bad weather).
Every driver has a basic duty of care to other drivers on the road: to avoid collisions and injury. This means that drivers must maintain a level of care appropriate to their environment. If you don’t and you cause harm to another person, then you were negligent and can be held accountable for monetary damages.
In other words, you have a legal obligation to drive safely on the roads, regardless of the weather, and if you fail that obligation and cause harm to someone else, you can be held liable for monetary damages as part of the consequences.
Where Does the Weather Fit?
To be clear, you cannot be held liable for a rainstorm, but you can be held liable for your careless actions in a rainstorm.
For example, if it was pouring cats and dogs and you failed to turn your windshield wipers on, causing you to crash into someone else, you can be held liable to the other person due to your negligent behavior.
How Weather Reports Contribute to Your Case
This is where weather reports come into play.
When bad weather is involved, attorneys for the insurance companies want to establish two things:
- That there was bad weather, surprisingly; and
- That the weather, not the defendants reckless behavior, was the cause of the accident
Conversely, the other side, the attorney for the injured party will seek to prove the driver was negligent, because the other driver failed to take reasonable precautions to account for bad weather and that the bad weather was not a surprise or an unexpected event.
Weather reports are helpful because
- they give you a baseline to show that the weather in your area was as bad as you claimed it to be that day.
- it was not unexpected because it was present for some period of time before the crash and,
- the defendant driver should have taken note upon starting to drive and to adjust accordingly.
It can also help you establish reasonableness, i.e. whether the other driver behaved in a way that any other driver might reasonably be expected to in the same situation.
To return to our rainstorm example, a driver might reasonably be expected to use their headlights and drive slowly in a severe rainstorm with limited visibility. If a driver failed to do so and later got in an accident, that behavior can be used to argue negligence. A weather report is what backs you up if the other driver tries to claim that the weather was better or worse than it actually was and the report will show when the bad weather started.
Expert Guidance to Navigate Your Auto Accident Claim
The key to navigating your accident claim is knowing how to use evidence to your advantage—not just what evidence to collect, but how to use that evidence to tell your side of the story. That’s where an experienced auto accident attorney can help you.
The attorneys at Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys have recovered millions for our clients since 1984. More importantly, we know how to put in the work and use our professional connections to ensure you have the right evidence to support your case, and we won’t stop until we get the results you deserve. If you need to speak with an attorney about your options, schedule your free consultation today.