While we can control many things, one thing that we cannot control is the weather. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, bad weather plays a role in 20 percent of traffic accidents. However, it’s usually not only bad weather that contributes to an accident. Drivers often operate their vehicles negligently or recklessly despite bad weather conditions. Unfortunately, this often leads to many serious injuries and sometimes, even death.
If you have been injured in a bad weather accident, it’s extremely important that you take the right steps in order to receive the compensation that you deserve. Don’t wait; contact the Law Offices of David P. Kashani today to start on your claim!
You May Recover Damages – Even if You Are Partially to Blame
While some states prevent drivers from recovering damages if they are even slightly liable, others allow for drivers to recover so long as they are less than 50 percent liable. California, which is a pure comparative state, allows for a driver to collect damages even if he or she is found to be more than 50 percent to blame. However, it’s important to note that you will not receive all of your awarded damages in such a case. If a driver is awarded $1,000,000 but is 20 percent at fault, he or she will receive $800,000. However, if a driver is 60 percent at fault for an accident, he or she would only receive $400,000.
Bad Weather Accidents in California
There are a number of different inclement weather conditions in California that make driving not only more difficult but also much more dangerous. Such conditions include the following:
- Fog – Fog can make driving much more dangerous in that it can greatly impact a driver’s ability to see and be seen. Since fog can virtually come out of nowhere, it can be tough to fully prepare for and make accidents much more likely to occur. The Bay area is known for dense fog.
- Heavy rain or thunderstorms – Even common weather conditions can prove dangerous if drivers do not take them into consideration when operating their vehicle. When it rains heavily it can make the roads much more slippery and can make it much harder to stop, often contributing to rear-end accidents. Since the road becomes wet it can be more difficult for the car to grip, leading to hydroplaning.
- Snow/Ice – Though rare, snow can occur in the Bay area as well. Even light snowfall can cause difficulty with visibility and also create slippery roads, leading to difficulty braking. Everything becomes less visible with snowfall, often in little time. When the roads freeze over into ice, it can make conditions extremely dangerous, as it often isn’t easy to detect ahead of time.
- Smoke/Fire – Wildfires, which are not uncommon in California, can create heavy smoke, making visibility difficult – sometimes for miles. When entire communities are evacuated due to wildfires and are all trying to drive to safety, the roadway congestion can also increase the risk of getting into an accident.
It’s important to note that although bad weather is often to blame for vehicle accidents, even days with beautiful, bright, sunny weather can contribute to car accidents. During sunrise and sunset, when the sun is at its lowest, the sun can go into drivers’ eyes, blinding them.
Negligent Behavior in a Bad Weather Accident
As we know, we can’t change the weather, but we can alter our actions and reactions based upon it. Unfortunately, not all drivers take the proper precautions when bad weather abounds. Sometimes drivers speed up in the snow when they should be slowing down or try to speed past another vehicle despite the fog, when they should be moving slowly. When these drivers act in this manner, they are driving negligently and recklessly and often cause harm to themselves and/or others.
Damages in a Bad Weather Accident
If you have been injured in a bad weather accident in part due to someone else, you could have the right to receive damages for both economic and non-economic losses.
Damages for economic losses include:
- Medical costs
- Cost of rehabilitation
- Property damage
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning power
- Nursing care or household care
Damages for non-economic (intangible) losses include:
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Permanent scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of emotional/financial support (wrongful death)
Contact Our Bay Area Bad Weather Accident Attorney
Weather-related accidents require experience in personal injury law and insurance law, all of which are specialties of our highly qualified team. These suits often require touchy and potentially acrimonious confrontations with your own insurance. Our team can help work through this delicate situation for your benefit.
The most important thing to do after a weather-related accident is to act quickly. Contact the Law Offices of David P. Kashani, APLC to schedule a free consultation in which we can discuss your options.