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Was Your Car Wreck Caused By Extreme Weather?

Extreme weather causes a myriad of headaches and damage. When some of that damage occurs during a car wreck due to hazardous weather, who is at fault? Determining fault is important to prevent unnecessary financial loss both now and in the future. To help you navigate this unusual conundrum, here are a few questions that help answer this question.

Did the Driver Have No Control?

Some things are completely out of a driver's control. These are often categorized as acts of God, meaning that you had no way to foresee and/or prevent the accident. So if a burst of wind pushes your car into another, you likely aren't at fault due to having no ability to control things.

Defining a weather-related accident strictly as an act of God may or may not help you avoid financial liability. In some states, no-fault accidents are treated differently from at-fault ones, but other states make less distinction. 

Were Drivers Taking Due Precautions?

The first thing that insurance carriers and attorneys will assess is whether or not all drivers were exercising due caution. The rule of thumb is that you must be taking reasonable precautions in accordance with the weather in order to avoid liability for negligence. 

Reasonable precautions take two primary forms. The first is driving appropriately for the conditions. This means slowing down, being aware of surroundings, stopping when necessary, or not continuing down a hazardous path. However, you must also have kept your car in reasonable condition to meet weather hazards. That may include having working headlights and wipers, using flashers when needed, or using chains where advised. 

Were Other Parties Taking Precautions?

Drivers aren't the only people involved in some accidents. Pedestrians might run across the road to get out of a rainstorm. Bicyclists may ride in the road to avoid snowy or icy sidewalks. Or perhaps a homeowner is shoveling snow into the road. If the drivers were following reasonable precautions but others were not, driver liability may be reduced or eliminated. 

Did Road Conditions Contribute?

Due precautions must also be taken by anyone responsible for the roads themselves. For instance, if the city fails to properly plow and de-ice a road, it may have liability for negligence if that failure causes an accident. 

Where Should You Start?

If extreme weather caused or contributed to your accident, start by learning more about the consequences of no-fault, at-fault, and shared-fault auto accidents in your state. Reach out to a car wreck lawyer for more information.