The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that about 1,235,000 accidents happen every year in the United States due to weather-related reasons. Data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that around 418,000 people are injured in weather-related accidents every year. As compared to other states in the United States, Tennessee experiences more diverse weather throughout the year. The diverse four weather seasons also create varied weather conditions which impact the safety of Tennessee roads. Tennessee drivers need to be prepared to drive in all types of weather conditions. If you suffered injuries related to a bad weather car accident, learn how a Tennessee Tennessee bad weather car accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm at (615) 338-9500 can help you with your case.
Bad Weather Conditions
The FHWA defines weather-related crashes as those crashes that occur in adverse weather conditions. Adverse weather conditions include:
- Severe crosswinds
- Blowing snow/sand/debris
- Wet/snowy/icy pavement
Among these weather conditions, wet pavement and rainfall account for the maximum bad weather car accidents in the United States.
Impact of Bad Weather Conditions
Bad weather conditions can increase the chances of road accidents by affecting:
- Driver capabilities including vision and control
- Vehicle performance including traction, stability, and maneuverability
- Pavement friction
- Road infrastructure
- Traffic flow
- Reaction time
Factors Leading To Negligent Driving In Bad Weather Conditions
Some of the common factors that aggravate the chances of bad weather conditions related accidents include:
Vehicles speeding on icy or slippery roads are more likely to cause an accident as compared to a car within controllable speed.
If the vehicle is not maintained and repaired regularly, its performance during bad weather may become poor. Further, worn-out brakes, broken headlights, defective windshield wipers, and bald tires can cause the vehicle to fail during adverse weather conditions and lead to accidents.
Not Using Headlights
Poor visibility due to bad weather is a common event and drivers must use as much light as possible to increase the vehicle's visibility and to see the road more clearly.
Other factors that result in car accidents in inclement weather include distracted driving, ignoring red lights, not giving right of way, driving between lanes, and driving under influence of drugs or alcohol.
Determining Liability in Bad Weather Car Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that drivers make a decision not to operate a motor vehicle in hazardous weather conditions. When the accident is a result of external factors such as bad weather conditions, determining liability for the car accident may become legally challenging and difficult.
If the accident was solely a result of nature's forces and none of the drivers involved could have avoided the accident, then no one may be held liable. A person may be able to secure some kind of compensation from his or her own insurance company depending upon the type of insurance coverage taken.
However, if the accident resulted from someone else's negligence, the injured party may be able to claim compensation through a personal injury lawsuit or settlement from the at-fault driver's insurance company. Negligent or reckless driving, distracted driving, and ignoring traffic rules are some common types of negligent behavior that can make a driver liable for a bad weather car accident.
Tennessee Comparative Negligence
Tennessee considers comparative negligence of the parties involved while determining liability in personal injury cases. Even if the victim was partially at fault, if it can be shown that the fault was lesser than 51%, a victim may have the ability to receive compensation. Never allow this comparative negligence law prevent you from contacting an experienced attorney to learn more about your legal rights.
If you suffered injuries or losses related to a bad weather car accident, learn how a Tennessee bad weather car accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm can help you with your case.
Driving Safely in Bad Weather Conditions
Some driving practices that drivers can adopt to avoid bad weather accidents include:
- Driving sober and avoiding driving under the impact of drugs and alcohol
- Avoiding fatigue, sleeping adequately before taking a trip, and taking breaks on a trip.
- Keeping space between vehicles during adverse weather conditions
- Staying alert and cautious, expecting people to be walking on the road even if the visibility is low.
- Practicing cold weather driving in empty lots, learning about vehicle performance during bad weather, and staying calm during a mishap.
- Maintaining the vehicle in the best condition and checking for defects before taking trips during bad weather conditions.
- Avoid driving near big vehicles including trucks as it may temporarily block visibility due to big splashes made by such vehicles.
- If the weather conditions are extreme, making the decision to pull over to a safe place and wait until it is safe to drive.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), through Tennessee 511 provides important and updated information related to weather conditions that may impact the road. Tennessee residents can call 511 to seek important information before traveling during bad weather conditions.
Steps To Be Taken After A Bad Weather Car Accident
A bad weather car accident can cause severe or fatal injuries and damages to multiple parties. Consider taking these steps after a bad weather car accident:
- Contact 911 immediately.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- If you are physically fine, give assistance to others involved in the accident.
- Gather evidence (if possible) including pictures of the weather conditions and cause of the accident.
- Preserve all medical and hospital bills and other out-of-pocket expenses and receipts to attempt to claim compensation later.
- Inform the police but do not make any statements or admissions.
- Consider contacting an attorney who can help you with gathering evidence, navigating through the different stages of negotiations with insurance companies, and your personal injury claim.
Learn How A Tennessee Bad Weather Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Determining liability and claiming compensation in car crashes where nature's forces are at play can be challenging. The claim for compensation needs to be supported through evidence, expert opinion, and applicable laws. If you suffered injuries in a bad weather car accident, consider contacting our legal team today to learn how a Tennessee bad weather car accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm at (615) 338-9500 can help you with your case.