When inclement weather causes a Virginia car accident, you may be wondering who is financially responsible for your injuries. Fault (liability) in a motor vehicle accident comes down to negligence. The driver or drivers who acted negligently or carelessly, causing your car accident, are financially responsible for your damages under Virginia law. When inclement weather is involved, it’s essential to conduct a thorough investigation into your case to determine any signs of human negligence. Doing so will allow you to hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries.
If you or your loved one has experienced injuries from a Virginia car accident involving inclement weather, our law firm can help. The lawyers at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC have extensive experience in obtaining compensation for clients who have suffered car accident injuries. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to conduct a thorough investigation of your bad weather car accident. Time is of the essence when it comes to bringing a lawsuit against negligent drivers. Contact our Virginia law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.
Inclement Weather Accidents Are Common in Virginia
Virginia is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, meaning the area receives plenty of rain. Temperatures can also become cold enough for streets to freeze in the winter. Freezing weather produces icy roads, which are especially dangerous for most Virginians, who aren’t experienced at driving in snowy or icy conditions. Even in seasons other than winter, flash floods and severe rainstorms can occur in Virginia.
Inclement weather can make roads extremely unsafe, increasing the likelihood of motor vehicle accidents. When there is a snowstorm, heavy rain, fog, or poor visibility, cars are more likely to collide with other motor vehicles, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. When drivers fail to reduce their speed and go too fast for the inclement weather conditions, they can hydroplane and run into another vehicle or run off the side of the road.
Drivers have a legal duty to drive reasonably safely under the circumstances. During inclement weather situations, the circumstances often require drivers to slow down and pay more attention to their surroundings.
Car Accidents Caused by Inclement Weather like Snow, Sleet, and Ice
Winter weather negatively affects a driver’s visibility, adversely affects traffic, reduces a car’s stability and traction, and increases the risk of a serious motor vehicle accident. Winter conditions such as sleet, ice, and snow cause many Virginia car accidents every winter. According to the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, an average of over 561,000 car accidents a year involve inclement weather conditions during winter.
Specifically, over 156,000 car accidents involve icy roads, 219,000 involve sleet or snow, and 186,00 involve slushy or snowy roads. Winter weather road conditions make it dangerous for drivers to drive over the posted speed limit. Responsible drivers will slow down on ice and snow to allow their vehicle plenty of room to stop on the slick asphalt. When drivers fail to use reasonable care on snow and icy roads, they can skid and rear-end other vehicles, causing serious injuries to other drivers and their passengers.
Negligent Drivers Cause Accidents During Winter Weather
Drivers should also use caution when braking during winter weather conditions. When a driver has anti-lock brakes, it is best to apply steady pressure to the brakes. If not, the driver should pump the brakes to avoid colliding with another vehicle. Negligently slamming on the brakes could cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle as it skids across the ice. Drivers also have a duty to clear ice from their windshields and side windows before driving. When drivers begin driving with an icy or foggy windshield, their visibility is significantly impaired. The snow and ice can fly off their windshield and strike another pedestrian or another driver, causing an accident. Drivers who lack experience in winter weather conditions should use reasonable care when deciding whether to drive. Completely inexperienced drivers should not be driving during severe winter storms, for example.
Car Accidents Caused by Heavy Rain
Heavy rains can be just as dangerous as snow when it comes to driving. When Virginia residents experience severe rainfall and thunderstorms, the heavy rains can flood roadways and reduce driver visibility. Slick roads are very dangerous, and a storm’s high winds can make it difficult to control a car. We’ve all seen news footage of flooded roadways carrying a driver and its occupants downstream.
During severe storms, it’s essential to drive at a steady, safe speed. In almost all cases, drivers should drive under the speed limit during a severe storm to avoid hydroplaning and colliding with another vehicle. Drivers should also ensure that their windshield wipers and brakes are working correctly, use their headlights and blinkers properly, and avoid driving through flooded roads. During heavy rainfall, it’s even more important to keep a safe distance between vehicles to prevent rear-end collisions.
Obtaining Compensation From At-Fault Drivers
Individuals injured in inclement weather car accidents may feel defeated, thinking that they won’t recover compensation because the bad weather caused the accident. On the contrary, when another negligent driver caused the car accident, the injured victim can still recover compensation, even in an inclement weather accident. A plaintiff must be able to demonstrate that the other driver did not use reasonable care while driving in the inclement weather conditions. Plaintiffs can use documentation from the National Weather Service and other weather forecasting information to prove that the weather was dangerous at the time of the motor vehicle accident. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene so you can show what the weather was like at the time of the collision.
Contact an Experienced Inclement Weather Accident Lawyer Today
If another driver has injured you as a result of negligence during a bad weather accident, you may be entitled to recover damages. Plaintiffs are entitled to damages for their lost wages, medical bills, mental anguish, pain, and suffering. Contact the experienced lawyers at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC today to schedule your initial consultation.