Many of us have experienced the real fear associated with driving in bad weather. Sometimes, we can’t see the road ahead clearly, not even by turning the windshield wipers to their maximum power. So, what happens when someone gets into an accident when the weather is bad? Can a driver be held liable for something they could not control? In some cases, they can.
When is a driver liable?
Heavy snow, fog or rain can make it impossible for a driver to see what is around them. It can be relatively easy to get into an accident in bad weather conditions, but that does not reduce a person’s liability if they are being negligent and cause a crash. When there is bad weather, each driver needs to act with reasonable caution. Failing to do so can be considered negligent, as in these circumstances:
- Driving fast: you must drive slower in bad weather. It’s unreasonable and negligent to speed if you cannot see the road ahead of you.
- Driving when the weather conditions were expected: it can be negligent to head out on the road when there is an expected blizzard or heavy storm.
- Not leaving enough space between cars: you must always leave adequate space between your car and the car in front of you, especially when the weather is bad.
The court will likely find a driver legally responsible for the accident if they drove in an unsafe manner by committing any of these acts. The at-fault driver will need to compensate the other for property damage, lost wages, medical expenses and other associated costs. Keep in mind, though, that you must file a legal claim for damages no later than 2 years after the accident.
Your rightful compensation
You have the right to seek compensation from a driver if they failed to drive with reasonable care. A driver cannot excuse themselves by saying that the weather caused the accident unless weather conditions were both extreme and unpredicted. Other than that, bad weather is typically not an excuse, and you can ask for compensation if a negligent driver hits you.