Who Is at Fault in an Accident When the Weather is Bad?
Atlanta gets its fair share of wintery weather—icy roads and the occasional snow, sleet, or freezing rain. Add to that year-round downpours, and you have a pretty good chance of facing rough conditions on the road. But who’s at fault if you are in an Atlanta weather-related accident?
Driving With Due Care
Bad conditions mean an increased risk and an increased responsibility to use due care when driving. Due care is the effort a reasonable person would take to avoid harming another, taking circumstances such as icy roads into account. In the case of the weather, this means leaving more space between cars, taking your time getting to your destination, and adjusting your speed. Remember, speed limits are set for optimal conditions. Thirty-five miles per hour might be perfectly safe on a sunny day, but it could be recklessly fast if the roads are slick.
Car maintenance is also an important consideration when it comes to determining fault in an Atlanta weather-related accident. If you’re going to drive with due care in bad weather, you’ll need to make sure your car is properly maintained, with working lights, fresh windshield wipers, and properly inflated, fully treaded tires. Anything less and you’ll have a hard time arguing that an Atlanta weather-related accident was truly unavoidable.
And it goes without saying that the same laws apply in good weather and bad. As Druid Hills accident attorneys, we’ve had to make the case that bad weather never excuses impaired, distracted, or aggressive driving.
Establishing Fault in an Atlanta Weather-Related Accident
If you’re involved in an accident when the weather is bad and you’re certain the other driver was negligent, it’s important to document as much as you can at the accident scene. To receive a claim, you’ll have to show the other driver lost control of his or her vehicle because he or she was not driving with due care.
Otherwise, the other driver or insurance company could argue you were both equally at fault due to the weather, leading to a 50-50 split in insurance responsibility. After the accident, take photos of the damage, ensure that the police create a detailed accident report, and exchange contact information with the other driver. Once you’re home and safe, you’ll also want to contact a Druid Hills accident attorney.
But what if neither driver was at fault?
Or what if you lost control of your vehicle and had a single-car accident? According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, 22 percent of vehicle crashes are caused by the weather, so this happens more often than you might expect.
Most insurance companies will cover you for an Atlanta weather-related accident if you have collision insurance, although it doesn’t hurt to check with your provider, especially if you have a discount policy. But beware: Your insurance company will still consider your one-car crash an “at-fault” accident, even if the cause was weather, not negligence.
If you’ve been injured in an Atlanta weather-related accident, you’ll want a lawyer who can help establish negligence if the other driver was at fault. Contact the Druid Hills accident attorneys at Litner + Deganian today. You can get a free consultation at our office, conveniently located on Briarcliff Road near Emory and Brookhaven.