Every year in New York State, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of motor vehicle accidents caused by negligent driving practices in poor weather conditions. Collisions are not limited to snowstorms and freezing rain. Even summer has its share of heavy rainfalls that can turn streets and highways into high-risk thoroughfares. The most responsible drivers can encounter difficulties when travelling under such circumstances, especially if they are sharing the road with motorists who aren’t so careful.
It doesn’t matter how careful and conscientious a driver you are: when Mother Nature goes wild, weather conditions can cause you to be involved in a serious car accident. If this happens, then who will be found at fault for the collision? What will be the outcome of any personal injury claim? It all depends on how liability is assigned.
Absent special circumstances, the driver who loses control of their vehicle is usually the one held liable when an accident occurs. Although treacherous weather led to the accident, the law holds you responsible for operating your car safely in all weather conditions. This includes:
- Keeping your vehicle in safe operating condition (e.g. snow tires in winter, working brakes and lights, functional windshield wipers)
- Driving more slowly during heavy rain and snowstorms
- Pulling over if visibility becomes too poor
- Staying off the roads if wind, rain, or snow make conditions too hazardous for travel
When an accident occurs during poor weather conditions, insurance companies tend to assign liability based on which driver was negligent at the time of the collision. In this instance, negligence is defined by the driver’s failure to take appropriate precautions on the road. Examples include:
- Driving at an unsafe speed on rain-soaked pavement
- Failure to use their headlights when visibility is poor
- Not leaving enough distance between cars to stop safely
- Turning too quickly on wet pavement
What about multi-vehicle accidents?
Thunderstorms and blizzards in New York State are often accompanied by multi-vehicle highway accidents. If dangerous roads cause two or more drivers to lose control and collide, then the event may be treated as a shared fault, leaving each driver liable only for their own damages. This is not a general rule, however: assignment of liability will depend on the outcome of a police investigation into the cause of the accident.
If you have been injured by a negligent driver during severe weather conditions, then contact a New York personal injury attorney who will help you seek compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other applicable damages. When a motorist fails to drive responsibly under conditions that warrant extra care, your attorney will fight for the maximum compensation you need to recover.
Call the law office of Jayson Lutzky, P.C. at 718-329-9500 to set up a free in-person initial consultation. Home and hospital visits may be available in the case of a serious injury. Mr. Lutzky’ 35+ years of legal experience coupled with his approach tailored to each client allows him to be effective in personal injury cases. He has helped recover millions of dollars in compensation over the years. Visit www.mynewyorkcitylawyer.com/accidents to learn more.