Legal Challenges in Car Accidents During Severe Weather Conditions
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Legal Challenges in Car Accidents During Severe Weather Conditions

14th December 2023

Summary:

  • Car accidents during severe weather often create significant legal complications.
  • Insurance companies often claim the at-fault driver couldn’t avoid an accident due to weather conditions.
  • Skilled attorneys know how to gather evidence to defeat an insurer’s bad-faith arguments.
  • Taking the proper steps after an accident can protect an injury victim’s health and help them win their case.

If you’ve driven in North Dakota for a while, you know how challenging it can be to navigate in rough weather, even if you take all the right precautions. Car accidents during severe weather, such as blinding rain or snow, can be complex legally. Injury victims must choose a lawyer skilled in investigating wrecks to determine liability.

The attorneys with Sand Law have extensive experience in car accident investigations. We’ll look at what caused your wreck and then seek compensation from those responsible. You can schedule a free consultation by calling 701-609-1510 or contacting us online.

Severe Weather Conditions in North Dakota

About 1.2 million car accidents occur yearly in the US due to bad weather. More than 1,800 people die, and another 136,000 suffer severe injuries yearly due to vehicle wrecks occurring on snowy and icy roads.

North Dakota, of course, is no exception when it comes to car accidents during severe weather. We often face challenging driving conditions due to rain, snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. These weather elements significantly increase the risk of wrecks. Severe weather conditions not only impact road visibility and traction but also complicate the process of determining liability in car accidents.

How Does Severe Weather Affect Car Accident Liability?

The typical car wreck is often straightforward. Someone caused the accident by being impaired due to alcohol use, drifting from their lane, or committing some other form of negligence. There were 101 deaths on North Dakota roads in 2021. Authorities attributed 35% of them to alcohol use and 56% to vehicle lane departures.

However, car accidents during severe weather can make determining liability more complicated. In North Dakota, where winter storms and icy roads are common, drivers must exercise extra caution. Failure to adapt driving behavior to these conditions can lead to accidents. Despite this, determining liability can be difficult since the weather can be the main contributing factor.

Insurance Challenges in Weather-Related Accidents

Insurance companies play a crucial role in car accidents during severe weather. Insurers must evaluate claims and compensate the parties involved. However, severe weather conditions can complicate the claims process. Insurance companies may attempt to attribute accidents to “acts of God” or unavoidable circumstances, which can impact an injury victim’s compensation.

Insurers also often insert clauses into policies related to weather-related accidents, influencing coverage and payout amounts. People involved in weather-related wrecks must understand the terms and conditions of their policies so they know whether or not they can obtain money for their damages.

However, insurance companies sometimes act in bad faith, denying legitimate claims. They may argue that their client wasn’t to blame due to the weather or that an injury victim failed to drive to the conditions. If an insurance company tries to use the weather as an excuse not to pay you, an attorney might be able to help.

Proving Fault in Car Accidents During Severe Weather Conditions

When establishing fault in car accidents during severe weather conditions, the best attorneys perform detailed investigations of many factors. These include the following:

Road Conditions

Road conditions are a critical aspect of weather-related accidents. Icy or snow-covered roads can significantly impact a vehicle’s traction and maneuverability. Analyzing the state of the road at the time of the accident helps an attorney determine whether it played a substantial role in the collision. Drivers must adjust their speed and driving style according to these conditions. Failure to do so can signify liability.

Driving Safely in Poor Conditions

Attorneys will also examine whether motorists were driving appropriately for the conditions. For example, did they turn on their headlights when visibility was low, such as in heavy rain or fog? Did they maintain a safe following distance? Did they use their brakes correctly?

Eyewitness Accounts

Eyewitness accounts are vital in piecing together the events leading to a weather-related accident. Eyewitnesses can provide valuable insights into the drivers’ actions, the state of the road, and other relevant details. Their perspectives could determine whether or not you get the compensation you deserve.

Evidence

Available evidence, such as surveillance footage or accident reconstructions, will also be crucial to your case. Surveillance cameras on roads or nearby establishments can capture the events leading up to the accident. Accident reconstruction experts can use scientific principles to analyze the dynamics of the collision.

However, severe weather’s unpredictable nature can make gathering conclusive evidence challenging. Snowstorms, heavy rain, or fog can obscure visibility and impact the quality of surveillance footage. Icy road conditions may leave limited tire marks or other physical evidence at the accident scene.

The difficulties in obtaining clear evidence create a scenario where legal proceedings may necessitate a more in-depth investigation to uncover the actual sequence of events.

Steps to Take Immediately Following a Weather-Related Car Accident

Taking specific steps immediately after an accident can protect your legal rights and strengthen your case. Here are a few to keep in mind.

  • Seek medical attention for injuries, even if you think you’re fine. Prompt care can keep you from getting worse. It will also create a record of your medical care.
  • Take detailed photographs of the vehicles involved, the surrounding area, and any visible road conditions. These images provide a visual record of the conditions during the accident and can serve as valuable evidence in establishing fault.
  • Collecting contact information from witnesses is another essential step. Witnesses can make or break a car accident victim’s chances of obtaining compensation.
  • Promptly reporting the accident to law enforcement and obtaining a copy of the police report is crucial for insurance claims and potential legal proceedings. This report is an official record that can be instrumental in the investigation process.
  • Hire an attorney so they can immediately investigate the accident and establish the at-fault driver’s liability.

Contact Sand Law PLLC to Speak with a Top-Rated Car Accident Attorney

Sand Law is ready to help injured victims of car accidents during severe weather caused by negligent drivers. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to tackle the unique challenges presented by these wrecks.

Please don’t hesitate to call 701-609-1510 or use our online form for a free case review.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do insurance companies handle claims for weather-related accidents?

Insurance companies assess the accident’s circumstances and review policy terms. They consider road conditions, driver behavior, adherence to safety guidelines, and other factors. In some cases, insurance companies may attempt to attribute accidents to uncontrollable factors, denying legitimate claims.

Can I still receive compensation if the weather was partly to blame for my accident?

Yes, you can. However, establishing fault becomes more complicated in such cases. Hiring an attorney immediately will provide your best chance of receiving fair compensation.

Why is legal representation important in weather-related car accident cases?

These cases often present unique challenges. Attorneys experienced in handling such cases understand the complexities of proving fault, negotiating with insurance companies, and navigating legal proceedings. Having a knowledgeable attorney by your side increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

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