Is Anyone at Fault if Bad Weather Caused a Car Accident in New York?
Bad weather can play a role in a car accident. Heavy fog, a severe thunderstorm, or icy conditions adversely impact driving conditions and increase the chances of an accident. There are two things to remember regarding bad weather in New York. One, bad weather does not excuse unreasonable conduct on the part of a motorist, and two, New York is a no-fault insurance state.
If you were seriously injured in a car crash, our New York personal injury attorneys at The Carrion Law Firm will work to hold another motorist liable if they failed to exercise reasonable caution given the inclement weather.
Car accidents are rarely a result of just bad weather. In most cases, an accident occurred because another driver was careless or purposefully acted in a reckless manner. In other situations, the municipality responsible for maintaining the road or the manufacturer of a defective car part could share liability. To determine who could be held accountable for your injuries, call (718) 841-0083.
New York is a No-Fault Insurance State
New York is a no-fault state. This means that if you are hurt in an accident, you will typically file a claim with your insurance carrier to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. It does not matter who was to blame for the crash. However, there are times when an injured accident victim is permitted to go outside the no-fault system and file a lawsuit against a negligent driver that caused an accident.
If you were seriously injured in an automotive vehicle accident, our New York City car accident lawyers could pursue a civil claim on your behalf. Serious injuries include fractures, disfigurement, loss of bodily function, amputation, or fetal loss. Before talking to an insurance company about a settlement, speak with our experienced attorneys to determine if you have valid grounds for a personal injury claim.
Liability for an Accident in Poor Weather Conditions in New York
If your injuries are serious enough to pursue a personal injury claim, you will have to demonstrate that another driver acted negligently to hold them legally liable for your injuries and financial losses.
To prove negligence in a personal injury case, an accident victim must prove that another motorist owed them a duty of care and subsequently violated that duty.
Duty in Inclement Weather
Motorists owe other drivers and passengers on New York roads a duty to operate their vehicles safely. Weather is an important factor in determining what constitutes reasonable and prudent behavior. For instance, if the roads are snow-covered and visibility is limited, driving at the posted speed limit is probably not reasonable. Furthermore, a motorist should maintain a further distance from vehicles in front of them than they would on a clear and sunny day.
Breach of Duty in Bad Weather Conditions
Establishing that another driver owed you a duty of care is generally not difficult. Most personal injury cases hinge on the ability to prove that the other driver breached that duty.
It would not be surprising for a motorist to claim that they lost control of their car because of an icy road. However, for the weather to absolve a driver from accountability, it would have to be the sole cause of an accident. For example, there are times when a sudden white-out event occurs, placing many drivers into a completely blind situation. In such extreme situations, even the most prudent and safe driver might not be able to avoid an accident. However, these circumstances are extremely rare.
Bad weather does not usually sneak up on drivers. The duty of care requires that drivers operate their cars in a prudent, cautious, and careful manner based on the driving conditions, including the current weather conditions. If the roads are icy, snow-covered, foggy, or there are otherwise bad weather conditions, a driver must exercise extreme caution to avoid causing an accident. If another motorist is not driving cautiously or is reckless, they are breaching their duty of care and could be held liable for any injuries they cause.
Defective Car Parts and Bad Weather in New York
There are times when a defective car part or vehicle design contributes to an accident. For example, your car’s tires might have a design flaw that is only apparent when traveling on a snowy or very wet road. Your brakes might work fine when the weather is clear, but a defect in the system could result in being unable to stop when the driving conditions are less than ideal. Depending on the cause of an accident, the manufacturer or distributor of a part could be held liable for your injuries.
Bad Weather and Poor Road Conditions in New York
Bad weather could also play a part in an accident if the road conditions are poor. An uneven road surface or large potholes could contribute to an accident. Depending on how an accident occurred, the municipality responsible for maintaining the road could be held partially liable.
For example, poor warning lights or signs could be a contributing factor in a weather-related accident. If a section of roadway had a history of flooding, an argument could be made that a warning sign would have been appropriate. Poor road design could also play a role in an accident if the weather is bad. When investigating an accident, our Bronx personal injury lawyers will carefully consider all possible liable parties.
New York Car Accident Lawyers Holding Reckless Drivers Liable for the Harm They Cause
Bad weather is not an excuse for an accident. If a driver fails to exercise reasonable caution in bad weather, they should be held liable for any injuries or damages they cause. At The Carrion Law Firm, our Queens car accident lawyers are committed to making reckless drivers pay for their poor decisions. Call (718) 841-0083 to review your case.