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Who Is at Fault When Bad Weather Causes a Car Accident?

Weather-related car accidents are a year-round occurrence, but winter weather conditions have the biggest impact on traffic accidents. Rain, snow, sleet, ice, fog, and even wind contribute to motor vehicle accidents by reducing visibility and impairing vehicle control. Car accidents come with a high price tag, which is why liability auto insurance is required virtually everywhere. If an accident results in injury, the injured person may be owed compensation for his medical bills and expenses, missed work, and pain and suffering, in addition to vehicle damage. When inclement weather is to blame for a car accident, there may be a dispute as to who should pay for the resulting damages. When an ice storm turns the highways into a slippery game of bumper cars, who is responsible for the inevitable collisions?

Liability in a Weather Related Car Accident

Drivers are expected to stay off the roads if weather conditions are too hazardous to operate a vehicle safely. This means motorists cannot use weather as an excuse for causing an accident. Drivers are encouraged to take extra precautions when driving in inclement weather by slowing down, pulling over if visibility is poor, and ensuring their vehicles are safe to operate.

However, when a car accident happens, road conditions will be considered (along with the actions of both drivers) when determining who is at fault. Generally, when a motorist loses control of his vehicle, he is responsible for any damage he causes. A driver that hydroplanes and rear ends another driver sitting at a stoplight will be liable for the damage caused to both vehicles, as well as any resulting injuries. However, if icy roads cause two or more motorists to lose control and collide into each other, the responding police officer may decide each driver is only liable for his own damages.

Personal Injury Claims and Contributory Negligence

North Carolina is one of only a few states with a contributory negligence law. This means if you are determined to be partially at-fault for your injuries (even just 1%), you are not entitled to recover any compensation from the other driver. Pure contributory negligence can make it challenging to collect on your personal injury claim, but an experienced car accident attorney may be able to help. If you or a loved one was injured in an auto accident, call the personal injury attorneys at McAllister, Aldridge & Kreinbrink, PLLC. Contact our office in High Point, North Carolina today to schedule your free consultation.

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