Car Accidents in Bad Weather: Liability and Insurance Issues

driver liability does not disappear in bad weather accidents

Car accidents are unfortunate events that can occur at any time and under any circumstances. However, bad weather conditions often contribute to a significant number of these incidents. Understanding the legal aspects surrounding bad weather accidents is crucial for both drivers and victims, as well as their Clarkston car crash attorneys.

Liability in Bad Weather Accidents

In the state of Georgia, the law requires all drivers to exercise “ordinary care” to avoid accidents. This means that drivers are expected to adjust their driving behavior according to the prevailing weather conditions. If a driver fails to do so and causes an accident, they may be held liable for any damages or injuries that occur.

The Department of Transportation Federal Highway Safety Administration reports that 22% of all car accidents are caused by bad weather.

Contributory Negligence Still Applies During Bad Weather

Georgia operates under a contributory negligence law as per O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33. This means that if you bear some responsibility for the accident, the amount of compensation you receive could be decreased in proportion to your degree of fault.

For instance, in a heavy rainstorm, a driver is expected to slow down, turn on their headlights, and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. If a driver chooses to ignore these safety measures and causes an accident, they could be considered negligent and therefore liable for the accident.

Other factors that could lead to drivers being held liable during bad weather include driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, driving with worn tread on the tires, not using windshield wipers or using worn windshield wipers, not using headlights at all, or using them incorrectly (high beams when not appropriate), and failing to obey traffic signals or road signs applicable to certain weather conditions.

Insurance Issues

Georgia follows a “fault” system when it comes to car insurance claims. This means that the driver who is found to be at fault for the accident is responsible for the damages. Their insurance company is typically responsible for covering these costs.

If you are involved in a car accident during bad weather, it’s crucial to gather as much evidence as possible at the scene. This can include photographs of the weather conditions, the damage to vehicles, and any injuries sustained. This evidence can be invaluable when dealing with insurance companies or if a lawsuit becomes necessary.

However, insurance claims involving bad weather can be complex. Insurance companies may argue that the bad weather was an “Act of God” and that the driver is not at fault. It’s important to note that this argument does not absolve a driver of their duty to exercise ordinary care.

bad weather often contributes to car accidents

The “Act of God” Defense

The “Act of God” defense is a legal concept that can be invoked in car accident cases in Georgia. This defense applies when an accident is caused by a force outside of human control, such as severe weather conditions.

Understanding the “Act of God” Defense

In the context of car accidents, a driver could potentially use the “Act of God” defense to argue that the accident was caused by a natural occurrence, and not due to their negligence.

For example, if a driver loses control of their vehicle due to a sudden and unexpected gust of wind, they might argue that the accident was an “Act of God” and not their fault.

The Role of Negligence

However, it’s important to note that the “Act of God” defense does not absolve drivers of their duty to exercise ordinary care. Even in bad weather, drivers are expected to adjust their driving behavior to the conditions. If a driver fails to do so and causes an accident, they could still be held liable, even if the weather conditions could be considered an “Act of God”.

Insurance Implications

The “Act of God” defense can also have implications for insurance claims. Insurance companies may attempt to argue that an accident was an “Act of God” to avoid paying out a claim.

Legal Assistance

Given the complexity of the “Act of God” defense and its potential implications for liability and insurance claims, it may be beneficial to seek legal advice if you’re involved in a car accident during bad weather. A lawyer at the Weinstein Law Firm can help you understand your rights and navigate the legal process.

Reach Out to an Experienced Clarkston Car Crash Lawyer!

Navigating the legal and insurance issues following bad weather accidents can be a complex process. It’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities as a driver in the state of Georgia.

If you find yourself in this situation, seek advice from an experienced Clarkston car accident lawyer from The Weinstein law Firm to ensure your interests are protected. Contact us at 770-HELP-NOW for a free consultation.

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