Arkansas sees all kinds of bad weather—rain, hurricanes, snow, ice, hail, and even tornadoes. With serious weather like that, you’d think that the extreme weather would cause the most accidents. But actually, according to a study done by Auto Insurance Center where they aggregated data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rain is the deadliest weather condition when driving.
Regardless of the specific type of weather, bad weather impacts roads and requires careful driving to avoid accidents. If you’ve been in a car crash caused by a storm of any kind, you might be wondering who is at fault. So how do you prove liability after a collision that occurs in bad weather?
Who Is at Fault?
The driver who was reckless in bad weather is who is liable for causing the car accident. Even if bad weather is the main cause of the accident, the driver is liable because they chose to drive in those conditions and did not properly adjust their driving to the weather. And since Arkansas is a traditional at-fault state, the driver deemed responsible for the accident is expected to pay for damages to any victims.
Proving liability for an accident in bad weather is basically the same as proving liability for any other car accident. You must prove the other driver was negligent, and that their negligence caused the accident. You must also prove that your injuries and other damages were caused by the accident, which can be done through medical records, medical bills, and bills from a mechanic.
Here are other factors lawyers examine when determining liability for an accident in bad weather:
- Speed in relation to weather
- Public was properly informed of possible bad weather or if it was sudden
- Keeping a safe distance between vehicles
- Any other way a driver could have avoided collision
In rare cases the insurance company could prove that bad weather was the sole cause of the accident, and they could deny your claims, even as a victim. That can only be decided if the weather was completely unexpected, like a sudden tornado that was not forecasted. But this is a rare decision by insurance companies because drivers are still expected to drive accordingly to the weather.
How to Drive in Bad Weather
All drivers have a duty to drive carefully and responsibly. When they don’t, they aren’t meeting their duty of care. In bad weather, just as when conditions are clear, you are expected to adjust your driving and use proper caution. The Arkansas Driver License Study Guide lists different ways to adjust your driving in different events.
Some precautions to take when driving in bad weather because they can keep you from causing an accident are:
- Headlights on
- Hazard lights in some cases
- Windshield wipers on and updated
- Updated tires
- Full attention of the road
- Slow speed
- Obey all signals and signs
- Listen to bad weather alerts
Braking in poor weather conditions can become dangerous very quickly. It’s important to keep a safe distance from other cars so that if you need to brake, you can do so slowly. If you brake too hard or too quickly, it can cause you to slide or hydroplane. It could also cause the driver behind you to collide with you and others.
Although putting on your hazards and pulling off onto the shoulder during inclement weather sounds like a good idea, sometimes this is the worst option. Other drivers can easily veer off the road and collide with you on the shoulder. Only pull off onto the shoulder as a final course of action.
McMath Woods P.A. Is On Your Side
A car accident caused by bad weather can get serious very quickly. As a victim, you might have injuries, emotional trauma, and trouble getting back to normal. But because of the bad weather, you might have trouble proving the other driver was liable for the accident. At McMath Woods P.A. in Little Rock, we will help you prove the other driver is responsible so that you can get proper compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.