In Fairfax, roughly 43 inches of rain fall in the winter months. There’s also an average of 22 inches of snow. These weather conditions often make for some of the most hazardous times for driving. Several crashes happen during the winter months, and many people chalk it up to the bad weather conditions as the main reason.
Before you let bad weather excuse someone else’s negligent actions, you should know that drivers have a responsibility to put safety first. In a severe accident, you may hold someone else accountable for your injuries, even if the crash occurs in terrible weather conditions. Below, we’ll help you understand your rights to hold someone liable.
Here are situations where someone may be responsible for your injuries in bad weather:
- When a driver fails to maintain their vehicle
- When a driver ignores road conditions or travels too fast for road conditions
- When a driver follows too closely
When a Driver Fails to Maintain Their Vehicle
Every driver who obtains a driver’s license automatically assumes a duty of care. This duty means the driver must take any and all action that can prevent others from experiencing harm in a car accident. Unfortunately, not everyone takes this duty seriously, such as when they don’t maintain their vehicle properly.
Maintenance is vital for all drivers as it helps ensure a vehicle’s lifespan, as well as keeps the vehicle owner and all others on the road safe. Maintenance routines should include the following actions:
- Checking tire tread to ensure traction
- Checking tire pressure to avoid a flat or blowout
- Checking and changing brakes and brake fluid
- Checking and changing windshield wipers
- Checking and changing liquids, oils, etc.
Performing routine maintenance should be a top priority for all drivers. A driver who doesn’t maintain their vehicle may be liable for a crash they cause, even if bad weather is present.
Another potentially dangerous situation occurs when water from another vehicle’s tires land on a windshield. If the driver doesn’t have effective windshield wipers or they can’t see because they have not taken steps to protect themselves, they may lose visibility and cause a severe accident.
When a Driver Ignores Road Conditions
While there are numerous laws on the road regarding how fast you can drive and other actions, they often account for perfect weather. However, when rain or snow hit the cement, it can change everything up completely, and your new law is to drive safe for the weather and road conditions.
For instance, if the rain has made the road slippery, the posted speed limits may be more dangerous than you think. Drivers must drive safe for the conditions, even if that means slowing down significantly below the speed limit to avoid an accident. If someone is driving too fast, it’s easy for them to lose control, creating a very hazardous situation.
When a Driver Follows Too Closely
Tailgating is dangerous in nearly any driving condition. Doing so when it is raining or snowing can be disastrous. Tailgating occurs when one vehicle gets too close to your rear bumper and they follow at a higher rate of speed. However, because visibility worsens in terrible weather, more people are inclined to do it so they can see what’s in front of them.
Following too closely creates a number of problems. One of the biggest issues that may arise is a driver who is following too closely while you approach traffic. As you slow down, the slippery road may make it nearly impossible for the vehicle behind you to stop if they are following too close.
Why You Need to Have a Lawyer
It is unfortunate to think about, but insurance companies look for various ways they can deny claims and prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve. They will try hard to say that their policyholder should not be liable because the weather was the underlying factor in your crash.
Far too often, insurance providers look to protect their profits instead of helping those in need. Because of this, it is best to have your own legal counsel who knows insurance adjusters’ tactics and the various ways they take advantage of a vulnerable situation. Dealing with an insurance adjuster on your own can lead to small mistakes, which they look at as an easy target for claim denial.
Working with legal counsel means you have resources that you otherwise would not have access to, such as accident reconstructionists, medical experts, and more. Additionally, your legal counsel helps you navigate complexities you encounter throughout the process, letting you focus on your recovery.
At Shevlin Smith, we go the extra mile when your rights matter most. We do not let insurance adjusters take advantage of your rights, especially when you face physical, financial, and emotional challenges in the aftermath of a severe crash. We hold negligence accountable when you need it most because you deserve someone in your corner, advocating on your behalf.
Our Fairfax car accident lawyers will look at every aspect of your claim. If someone else should be held responsible for the injuries you sustain. We give you the voice to stand up to negligence and pursue the compensation and justice you deserve.