Can I Claim Compensation for Weather-Related Accidents?

Weather conditions can cause car accidents due to adverse weather components such as rain, snow, ice, and fog. Slippery roads, reduced visibility, snow and ice accumulation, freezing rain, and bad road conditions contribute to heightened safety risks in adverse weather. 

Weather-Related Accidents

Did you know weather-related accidents are more dangerous than large-scale weather disasters? That means typical weather conditions, such as rainy weather, can cause more severe storm damage and injuries to road users than hurricanes or tornadoes. 

If you are involved in a car accident caused by bad weather, you can seek compensation for the damages. However, you must prove who is liable for the crash to claim your payout. 

Read on to learn how to recover damages after a car collision during bad weather conditions. 

Can I Claim Compensation for Weather-Related Accidents?

What are the Risks of Driving in Bad Weather?

Generally, weather-related accidents refer to collisions in inclement weather, such as rain, sleet, or snow. Most weather-related crashes happen during the rainy season, when 70% of car crashes occur on wet pavement and 46% during rainfall. 

If you decide to drive in bad weather, you are likely to face several dangers on the road, such as:

  • slippery road surface,
  • reduced visibility,
  • lane obstructions, such as fallen trees due to storms and strong winds, and
  • other infrastructure damage.

How Can a Storm Damage a Car?

Sometimes, driving in heavy rain can cause damage to your car. Rainwater can enter sensitive areas of your vehicle, causing severe damage to the engine and other crucial components of the car. This can make it challenging to start or even stop the vehicle while it is running. 

Additionally, in severe rainy conditions, lighting may strike your vehicle, causing damage to the antenna, electrical system, rear windshield, and tires. When lightning hits your car, you may experience these circumstances:

  • An inoperable vehicle,
  • Shattered vehicles, and
  • Defective tires.

These storm damages can further cause harm to your vehicle if you fail to examine and repair it. In unfortunate cases, it can even result in accidents. This is why you must regularly assess your car’s condition.

While bad weather can significantly affect your driving experience, it is not always the root of accidents due to weather conditions. There are cases where the driver’s behavior causes the collision. 

There are common driver errors when traveling in bad weather that can result in car crashes, such as:

  • going too fast in inclement weather,
  • driving too close to the vehicle in front of you,
  • not using head and tail lights,
  • driving with inflated tires,
  • not following traffic lights and signals,
  • driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and
  • driving with distractions.

When identifying the cause of the accident, ask, “Was the driver taking precautions when they were driving?” If yes, you may check other factors that have influenced the crash, such as the weather or road conditions.

On the other hand, if it is determined that the crash was due to a driver’s negligence, the at-fault party will be liable for the damages of the collision. This is why it is best to have a legal expert by your side who can investigate your case and prove your liability.

Who Is Responsible for Accidents due to Weather Conditions?

Several factors may influence accidents due to weather conditions. Sometimes, a driver can act negligently, resulting in a car collision. There are also cases where the weather heavily impacts the driving experience of road users.

If a driver hits you in bad weather, there are certain factors to consider before filing a claim. These questions will help you determine if the driver was responsible for the crash:

  • Was the driver moving at an appropriate speed?
  • Was the driver following you too closely?
  • Was the driver distracted when they were driving?
  • Did the driver violate a traffic law?

If you answered yes to one of these questions, the driver might be accountable for the damages of the crash. You will then need to have the necessary evidence to support your claim, such as:

  • the other driver’s name, phone number, and home address,
  • their license and insurance provider number
  • photos or videos of the accident, and
  • contact details and statements of witnesses around you.

Poor Road Conditions can Cause Accidents 

There are instances where poor road conditions cause car collisions. This can happen when the road has several blemishes that may be challenging to see, especially when driving in bad weather conditions. These road defects include:

  • potholes,
  • missing barriers,
  • unclear road signs,
  • Defective road signals,
  • Unexpected road modifications, and others.

If these factors caused your weather-related accident, you may file a claim against the local government responsible for maintaining the road. 

However, you should know that you may only pursue a case six months after the weather-related accident. That means you do not have enough time to make decisions and take actions that may jeopardize your case. It is best that you seek assistance from an attorney who understands the process of filing a claim against local governments.

Both drivers may have committed their own wrongdoings, which caused the accident in California. In such instances, you can still claim restitution for the crash. However, the settlement amount will likely be reduced. 

For example, the other driver was driving too fast when his vehicle suddenly hit you. Unfortunately, you weren’t wearing a seatbelt during the collision. In this case, let’s say you are 10% responsible for the accident. Your compensation value will then be reduced to 90%.

When calculating your payout, you typically must collect all damage expenses related to your accident. You may include the following documents to initially compute your settlement value:

  • hospital bills,
  • prescription and other medication expenses,
  • treatment or rehabilitation costs,
  • medical equipment expenses if you have a permanent disability, 
  • vehicle repair or replacement costs,
  • document verifying your lost wages and future loss of income. 

Additionally, you may include the non-economic damages from the crash. That is, the non-monetary losses you incur from the collision. For instance, you might include the emotional distress you go through after a car accident in California that was weather-related if you have a long-term or permanent injury.

The question is, “How will you calculate these damages?” While it may seem intimidating and impossible to compute, a California car accident lawyer knows about including them in your overall settlement value. 

Non-monetary damage includes the following:

  • Cognitive alterations from a brain injury,
  • Mental trauma,
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,
  • Anxiety,
  • Anger,
  • Grief,
  • Depression and,
  • Loss of life enjoyment.

After gathering all possible damages to cover when computing your settlement value, you will likely need to check the at-fault party’s insurance coverage to know if the amount fits their policy. If it is insufficient, the insurance provider may decline your claim. This is why you will need an attorney who can maximize your payout and communicate with the other party’s insurance company.

If you are involved in a weather-related accident, these steps will help you ensure your safety and resolve the incident accordingly:

  • If you can, move to a safe location nearby to avoid causing further damage to other road users.
  • Turn on your hazard signal, headlights, and wipers to warn other drivers around you. 
  • Check if you have injuries.
  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Gather the necessary evidence, such as:
    • the other driver’s name, address, and insurance provider,
    • contact details and testimonies of witnesses, and
    • photos of the accident scene.
  • Cooperate with the police.
  • File an initial accident report.
  • Contact a legal expert. 

In Conclusion

Adverse weather, such as rain, snow, fog, and storms, may create dangerous driving conditions, making it challenging for drivers to maintain vehicle control. 

In weather-related accidents, you will need to identify the cause of the crash. Sometimes, it can be a car accident due to bad weather, or another driver’s negligence can also influence it. In such cases, legal experts will investigate the nature of your bad weather accident and determine the cause of the crash.

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