To what extent can my crash be blamed on environmental factors?
When it comes to dangers faced on Florida roads, anything is possible. Trees can come down due to high winds. Large puddles can form in the road due to heavy rain. Thick fog can impact visibility.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 1.2 million crashes across the U.S. each year are weather-related. This results in more than 418,000 injuries and nearly 5,000 traffic fatalities.
Roughly 70 percent of weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement and 46 percent during rainfall.
Can environmental factors be blamed for my car accident?
First, let's examine what environmental factors are. They're challenges that we face on our daily commutes or when traveling from point A to point B. They can include:
- Weather conditions: Heavy rain and strong winds
- Traffic conditions: Traffic congestion, traffic jams, or roadway construction
- Road defects: Potholes, uneven surfaces, downed trees, and debris
- Road infrastructure: Confusing intersections and sharp curves
- Visibility issues: Poor lighting, fog, or weather-related issues
There are very few cases in which we can blame environmental factors for a crash. For example, you may not have enough time to anticipate a pothole or downed tree when driving around a curve. In this case, a state or local municipality would be responsible for addressing the hazard. The hazard must have been there long enough for a municipality to address it, however.
In most crashes where conditions are unfavorable, environmental factors only contribute to the accident. Human error is the real cause of a crash. That's because drivers have the choice to reduce their speed and stay attentive.
What should I do if environmental factors contributed to my car accident?
If you were involved in a crash, the conditions may not have been favorable for driving. You practiced caution. You reduced your speed, used good judgment, and stayed attentive. The driver who hit you may have been speeding, distracted by a cellphone, or driving drunk.
When environmental factors are involved in crash, the other driver's insurance company may use them to blur the lines of responsibility. They may claim that it was the weather conditions that caused your crash, and therefore, nobody was at fault. If you allow the at-fault driver's insurance company to use this trick, you may end up paying for your medical expenses and other damages out of your own pocket.
Instead of discussing your crash with the at-fault driver's insurance company, you should consult with an experienced Florida car accident attorney who can investigate the facts.
The Law Offices of Brent C. Miller, P.A. has more than 30 years of experience investigating crashes, negotiating with insurance companies, and helping injured motorists obtain the compensation they deserve.
We serve clients in Tavares, The Villages, Inverness, and Clermont, Florida. Contact us online or call us at 800-323-1243 to schedule your free consultation.