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Can Drivers Be Held Liable in Weather-Related Accidents?

Driving in bad weather

From texting while driving to being intoxicated behind the wheel, car accidents often occur due to driver error. However, weather conditions can also lead to devastating collisions.

According to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation, approximately 1,235,145 accidents involved hazardous weather (21 percent of all crashes) between 2007 and 2016. Each year, an average of 5,376 fatalities are caused by weather-related collisions (16 percent of all traffic deaths).

In short, the chances of a crash significantly increase in inclement weather. Bad weather conditions can reduce traction on the road and seriously hinder visibility. Plus, poor weather conditions can make vehicles more difficult to maneuver.

The following are a few common weather conditions that may result in a car accident:

  • Rain – The roads become wet when the rain pours, causing slippery and sleek driving conditions, especially if it hasn’t rained in a long time and oil residue builds up on the ground. Rain is the most common cause of weather-related accidents in the U.S, and because Missouri sees a substantial amount of rainfall each year, drivers need to be on their guard.
  • Snow and ice – Heavy snow or blizzards often cause multi-vehicle accidents and even massive pileups in the winter. Additionally, visibility decreases during snowfall. Black ice on roads and bridges can result in treacherous driving conditions, making the brakes useless and rendering the car extremely difficult to maneuver.
  • Fog – Hazy and foggy conditions substantially reduce visibility, making it challenging to see anything in front of you. This can become particularly treacherous when the vehicles in front of you come to a stop or gradually slow down. Speeding and tailgating typically lead to fog-related accidents.

When drivers encounter bad weather, they often adjust their speed and proceed with caution. However, when drivers fail to practice safe driving habits, not only do they put their own lives at risk but also the lives of others who share the road.

Although inclement weather can cause hazardous driving conditions, negligent drivers can still be held liable for an accident. An at-fault motorist might fail to take necessary safety precautions, such as reducing speed or turning on the headlights. As a result, their insurance company will likely attempt to deny liability and claim the weather conditions caused the collision. However, negligent drivers need to be held responsible for their actions.

At Meyerkord & Kurth, we can help you prove that driver negligence played a part in your weather-related accident. Our St. Louis car accident lawyers can evaluate your case, determine your available legal options, and protect your rights and best interests to obtain your entitled compensation.

Contact us and schedule a free consultation today for more information about our legal services.

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