The risk of a car accident increases any time driving conditions are less than ideal, whether that is from a drowsy driver, impaired driving, road construction, or inclement weather. One type of incredibly common inclement weather that has a notable impact on the likelihood of a car accident is rainy weather.
Read on to understand the increased risks on the road caused by rainy weather and how to prove fault if you were injured in a rainy weather car accident.
The Risks of Rainy Weather
A recent study found that precipitation events make fatal car accidents 34% more likely. Even light rain increases the risk of a fatal accident by 27%. The risk of a crash in rainy weather is highest:
- In the morning, close to rush hour
- In rural areas
- In winter
Rain makes driving more difficult on several levels. First, vehicle performance is decreased because the wheels have less traction on the road. A driver also has to adjust their behavior to rain because not only will the car handle differently, but their ability to see far ahead or peripheral obstacles is reduced. Drivers are less able to judge distances between themselves and obstacles and to judge traffic signal timing. According to data gathered over time, nearly 5,000 people are killed and over 418,000 people are injured each year in weather-related crashes.
There is no doubt that weather can make driving more difficult and increase the likelihood of a crash.
If another party’s negligent or intentional actions caused the car accident, they are responsible for any resulting injuries. Negligence occurs when an individual acts outside a reasonable standard of care. There are some important factors to consider when assessing liability for a rainy weather car accident. Work with your lawyer to analyze the circumstances of the crash, and be sure to consider the following parties for responsibility:
- Negligent Driver: Any time a driver acts in a way outside the standard of care used by other drivers in similar circumstances, they are considered negligent. This means that during rainy weather, a driver needs to make the same reasonable decisions as other drivers would, including slowing speed for reduced visibility, avoiding rapid lane changes, tailgating, or passing, and any other action which increases the likelihood of an accident. If a driver is issued a citation for violation of a traffic law or regulation, this is strong evidence of negligence.
- Vehicle Manufacturer: If a vehicle has a defect or malfunction that either causes the accident or increases the extent of a victim’s injuries, the vehicle manufacturer is responsible. For example, if a safety mechanism meant to decrease the risks of rainy weather driving fails, the manufacturer could be responsible for your injuries.
- Employer: If a negligent driver is operating in the scope of their duties as an employee at the time of the accident, their employer is responsible for their actions. An employer is more likely to have a significant insurance policy that can cover your injuries.
A police report will be an important piece of evidence as you build your case against the defendant. The police report will include pictures of the accident scene, which is particularly important in a rainy weather accident. Pictures will include any skid marks that can help demonstrate if a driver was driving too fast or failed to stop in a timely manner. The police will also collect witness statements and contact information which can provide important details about a driver’s behavior leading up to the accident. Finally, the police report will note any traffic violations committed by any driver involved in the accident.
If you aren’t able to call the police to the scene, be sure to document as much of this same evidence is possible, including photos and witness contact information.
Prepare a Comprehensive Damage Assessment
In addition to proving fault for the accident, you will also need proof for the damages you are demanding from the defendant or their insurance provider. While the most obvious damages are medical expenses, many victims suffer a wide variety of emotional and financial injuries that require compensation.
Work with your lawyer to calculate an appropriate damages demand, including:
- Medical Costs: The defendant is responsible for all costs associated with injuries caused by the car crash, including emergency transportation, the cost of surgical procedures and hospital stays, doctor bills, and prescription medication. Include an estimate of future medical expenses including rehabilitation or assistive devices like a wheelchair.
- Lost Income: Many injuries limit a victim’s ability to perform their job duties. If you missed work because of your injuries, include your lost wages and benefits in your damages demand. Additionally, including an estimate of future lost wages if you will continue to miss work as well as any future diminished earning capacity.
- Property Damage: If your vehicle or other property was damaged or destroyed in the accident, the defendant is responsible for repair or replacement.
- Emotional Distress: A car accident is a distressing event, and many victims suffer emotional distress like anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder after an accident. Work with your attorney to include appropriate monetary compensation for this emotional distress in your demand.
- Loss of Enjoyment: Many people participate in activities that bring purpose or joy to their lives. Unfortunately, some injuries can keep you from participating in these meaningful activities. If your injuries have kept you from an activity you love, discuss including loss of enjoyment damages with your lawyer.
You will need to have proof to substantiate each of your claimed damages, including paperwork like doctor bills, medical records, paystubs, and tax records. Some damages are easier to prove than others, so be sure to build a strong case for all of your damages with your attorney.
The team at Allan Berger and Associates have a long history of helping rainy weather car accident victims secure the recovery they deserve. Contact our firm today at 504-618-1597 or through our website to schedule a free case consultation.