Can I File a Car Accident Lawsuit After an Inclement Weather Wreck?
by King Law
Inclement weather is known to be a cause or, at the very least, a contributing factor in many car accidents in upstate New York. Indeed, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), many different types of weather events can impact road safety as a result of visibility impairment and the inability to maintain control over the vehicle on the road. Some of the weather events that the FHWA cites as factors in inclement weather collisions include air temperature, humidity, high wind speed, rain, sleet, snow, and fog. Many misconceptions exist about inclement weather collisions, including the harmful mistaken belief that nobody is at fault for a collision that occurs in inclement weather.
To be clear, in New York, motorists have a duty to behave reasonably under the circumstances, which could mean slowing down significantly or leaving substantially more following distance when the weather is bad or visibility is poor. Our Rochester car accident attorneys can assess your case to determine if another driver should be held accountable for your inclement weather car accident injuries.
Proving that Your Injuries Meet the Serious Injury Threshold
If you want to file a car accident lawsuit against a negligent driver following an inclement weather collision, you will need to determine whether or not you meet the “serious injury threshold” before you even begin the process of proving that the motorist was driving unreasonably given the weather conditions.
Your Rochester car accident attorney can assist you from the start and can help you to determine whether you have met the serious injury threshold. According to New York Insurance Law § 5104, once you have met the serious injury threshold, you can move into filing a lawsuit against the motorist whose negligence caused the collision during a weather event.
When Is Another Driver Responsible for an Inclement Weather Crash?
Inclement weather is not an excuse for crashes that happen. To be sure, drivers have a duty to behave as a reasonable person would under any given circumstances, which typically means changing their behavior when there is a significant weather event or issue. Accordingly, even if the posted speed limit is 55 miles per hour, a reasonable person likely would slow down significantly in the event of heavy fog, snow, sleet, or heavy rains. Likewise, if the roads are icy or other weather conditions make tire traction difficult, a reasonable person would keep a greater following distance.
In these types of scenarios, as well as others linked to inclement weather driving, it is important to remember that motorists have a duty to act reasonably. Even if they are driving within the bounds of New York traffic law but their behavior is not how a reasonable person would drive under the circumstances of the inclement weather, it may be possible to sue that driver for negligence and to seek damages.
Contact a Rochester Car Accident Attorney
One of our experienced Rochester car accident attorneys can help you to show that another driver’s negligence was responsible for your injuries even if the collision occurred in inclement weather. To be clear, you should never assume that inclement weather means that another driver should not be held responsible for unsafe driving behavior. Contact King Law to learn more about your options for filing a car accident lawsuit and seeking the compensation you deserve.