Driving conditions can be affected by bad weather, with chances of getting into an accident drastically increasing in bad weather that gives conditions like reduced visibility from fog or heavy rain. Icy roads can also reduce tire traction and make it more likely for you to get injured in an accident.
As a driver, you can stay on top of these safety precautions by being aware of how bad weather can affect your trip. It’s also helpful to understand who is liable in a car accident that occurs in inclement weather conditions.
Read on to learn more about bad weather car accidents in Denver and whether you might need a Denver car accident lawyer afterward. If so, we’ll ensure you get the full compensation you deserve.
How Can Bad Weather Affect Car Accidents?
Denver experiences a range of weather conditions. When storms do hit, they can bring undesirable driving conditions and adversely affect peoples’ driving ability. Poor weather can make it hard to see clearly or steer effectively (such as on icy roadways). Fog, rain, flooding, mist, hail, and other conditions that affect a driver’s ability to stay safe and practice safe driving means an increased likelihood of a crash.
The First Crucial Step in a Bad Weather Accident: Establishing Negligence
Proving negligence is the most important basis for any car accident or personal injury claim. Since Denver follows “at-fault laws,” determining fault and showing proof of fault is a critical step to your accident claim in Denver. We’ll explain in more detail below.
You Also Need to Understand Denver’s General Car Accident Law
Colorado uses “fault-based” car accident laws, meaning the person who is at fault is responsible for covering damages. That includes any financial damages and injuries sustained by the accident victim.
It’s important to note that minimum amounts of auto insurance are also a requirement for all Colorado drivers – which includes liability insurance. Unfortunately, this doesn’t guarantee that all drivers will have insurance. If you find yourself at odds with an uninsured driver, this can create stress and anxiety about how you will recover accident damage coverage. This is when a Denver personal injury lawyer may help with your case and resolve any issues with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Can Weather Conditions Affect Accident Liability?
Yes. Since the likelihood of an accident is increased in certain weather conditions, drivers have an extra responsibility to drive with caution. A Denver car accident lawyer can help you feel empowered to navigate the legal process effectively and efficiently and help with several important things in a bad-weather car accident claim.
Since Denver drivers are held to fault-based laws, they are also affected by bad weather. As in, they have an extra duty to adjust their driving according to weather conditions. Failure to do so can result in liability or being legally responsible for the resulting damages.
For example, if it’s pouring rain and hard to see, a reasonable and responsible driver would slow down. If you can prove a driver failed to adjust their speed to match a safe driving condition, they might be found negligent. Their liability insurance would be responsible for paying out your claim up to whatever is specified in their policy. Anything beyond the policy limit may be deferred to the responsibility of the driver.
Since Denver also uses a modified comparative negligence law, if you are partially at fault for the accident, your damage compensation can be reduced by your amount of fault.
How Much Does Weather Affect Car Accidents in Denver?
Data from the U.S. The Department of Transportation suggests that approximately 21% of all crashes are weather-related – which is over 1 million crashes related to bad weather. To stay safe in inclement weather conditions, drivers should bear these tips in mind.
Tips for Staying Safe on the Roadways in Bad Weather
All drivers should follow these tips closely to prevent accidents in adverse weather conditions:
- Don’t speed. In fact, slow down, as you’ll most likely need to drive under the speed limit while it’s snowing or there’s a heavy downpour of rainfall. Adjust your speed appropriately as needed when you can’t see well due to rain, sleet, snow, fog, or wind. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Keep a safe distance between yourself and other drivers. This will give you adequate time to react if anyone makes an abrupt stop or slows down suddenly.
- Make sure all your lights work properly. You don’t just need to see while driving, you also need to be seen.
- Try to avoid sudden braking – especially on icy roads – and stay alert for other drivers who may need to stop suddenly. They might even just be purely careless and distracted while driving by eating or using their phones. Avoid distractions while driving – your phone can wait until you arrive at your destination. If you need to make an emergency call or text, pull over.
All Drivers Need to Follow Traffic Laws Extra Closely When Driving in Poor Weather Conditions
If a driver fails to follow traffic laws in adverse weather conditions, this can help strengthen your case. If the defendant was tailgating, speeding, or violating some other traffic law, this is just helping you gather evidence for your claim.
You Need to Prove the At-Fault Party Was Aware of the Poor Weather and Knowingly Drove Carelessly
Proving the at-fault party’s liability is a crucial step that involves demonstrating that they were aware of the dangerous weather conditions and still drove carelessly. An attorney will help you collect all the necessary evidence to paint such a picture and build a strong case in your favor.
How Expert Witnesses Can Help Strengthen Your Claim in a Bad Weather Car Accident
Your attorney might suggest enlisting the help of expert witness testimonies if it will make a significant difference in your case. For instance, you could have a weather expert or an accident reconstructionist testify on your behalf and describe how the other driver was negligent. They can give their professional opinions to beef up your case’s credibility and bolster your claim.
Evidence You Need for a Bad Weather Crash
Providing evidence to link your injuries to the accident is crucial in a bad weather accident, or any car accident for that matter. By gathering strong evidence to prove the defendant’s negligence, you’re providing more information to support your claim. We understand it can be confusing and overwhelming to think about collecting evidence, but that’s one of the many ways a Denver car accident lawyer can help you.
Contact a Denver Car Accident Lawyer Today
Call our Denver personal injury lawyers today if you were injured in a crash during adverse weather conditions. We can help you win the full compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering, injuries, and any other losses you sustained. The weather can play a substantial role in determining fault, so call us today for a free initial case review.