Can I Hold Someone Liable for a Bad Weather Accident?
In recent days, Travis and Williamson Counties have seen quite a lot of rain, with more storms on the way. When the weather is bad outside, drivers have a responsibility to take defensive measures and to not drive in a way that a reasonable person would consider dangerous. However, this does not always happen - traffic accidents occur very commonly, in fact, killing more annually than large-scale weather disasters like tornadoes. If you are involved in a car accident where you suspect that rain has been a factor, it can be difficult to establish liability, but certainly not impossible. An experienced attorney can also be of help in your seeking compensation.
Bad Weather Plays A Big Role
Accidents are very common after it has rained or snowed, as one might imagine; wet pavement plays a role in as many as 70 percent of weather-related accidents, according to Federal Highway Safety Administration (FHSA) data, with rainfall specifically playing a role in nearly half the number. Every aspect of driving can, in theory, be affected by wet pavement or rainfall - visibility, stopping distance, and all the other factors are vastly inferior to their dry-weather counterparts. The injuries from this type of accident can be quite severe, as well, because it is so easy to lose control of one’s vehicle in bad weather, which in turn may prevent any kind of defensive measures.
If you are involved in a bad-weather accident, there are multiple potential causes, with only some of them being actionable. The commonly seen difficulty in this type of case is that it can be very hard to tell which factor was specifically the cause of your accident, and who, if anyone, should be held liable for it. Sometimes accidents simply happen despite everyone doing everything right, and it is very common for defendants to argue that your injuries resulted simply from bad luck. It is important to be able to refute this kind of argument in order to possibly receive damages from the defendant or defendants.
There are two major ways that an injured plaintiff can try and establish a defendant’s liability after a bad-weather accident. The first one, if the facts support it, is to file suit against the entity that is responsible for maintaining the road (in Texas, this is usually the Texas Department of Transportation [TxDOT]), alleging negligence in maintenance. This is usually done when something else was wrong with the road - for example, missing signs, poorly marked potholes, and the like. Be advised, however, that if you try to sue a government entity, you must be sure that sovereign immunity does not apply.
The other legal theory often used to file suit in a bad-weather accident case is to allege negligence against the driver who struck you. It is in these types of cases that the weather is most often brought up as a defense; the driver may argue that they were operating their vehicle normally, but the weather was so bad that it caused the accident. However, Texas law states that a driver must drive with reasonable care - this means that sometimes, it may be unreasonable to drive at the normal speed limit in the middle of a thunderstorm, and if someone persists in doing so, they may be held liable for their recklessness.
Contact a New Braunfels Car Accident Attorney
When the weather is clear, one can drive a certain way; when it is not, other precautions must be taken, and if they are not, serious injuries can result. If you have experienced a bad-weather accident and been injured, an experienced attorney may be of great help to you. The skilled New Braunfels car crash lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm will fight for the compensation you deserve, to make sure you have some breathing room while you focus on recovery. Contact us today at 888-392-0039 for a free consultation.