Driving your car under pouring rain can be risky, potentially contributing to devastating accidents and injuries on the road. Unfortunately, sometimes there is no way around it. Yet not only is inclement weather risky for drivers – it can also add a layer of complexity to your injury claim if a crash occurs. Can you file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties for a car accident if there was heavy rain at the time of the accident? The Philadelphia car accident lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm explain more about this essential question.
Statistics on Car Accidents Caused by Rain
Rain is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the United States. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), there were 556,151 rain-related crashes in the U.S. from years 2007 to 2016. Sadly, these accidents accounted for 212,647 injuries and 2,473 deaths. Despite these statistics, many people disregard safety on the roads while driving in adverse weather conditions.
When driving in bad weather such as heavy rain, drivers must be extremely careful. Pouring rain reduces visibility, affects the functionality of tires and brakes, and makes driving safely more difficult, which is why operating a vehicle in these conditions requires focus from all motorists.
Establishing Liability After a Car Accident Caused by Bad Weather
Negligence is at the core of most personal injury claims, including those involving car accidents. This means you will need to demonstrate that the negligent actions of the other driver caused your injuries. In other words, to establish liability in a car accident caused by heavy rain, you will need to prove the other party’s actions on the road were negligent.
To establish negligence, you will need to show the at-fault party did not act as a prudent person would have in similar circumstances. For example, it may be the case that the other driver failed to reduce his or her speed, as a prudent driver typically would in heavy rains. If you can show the other driver’s negligence using evidence, such as crash site photos and medical records, you may be awarded compensation for pain and suffering, and may receive other compensation for your losses, such as medical bills and lost earnings.
To have a successful claim, you will specifically need to show the defendant owed you a duty of care, namely the duty to drive safely with respect for the rules of the road. Additionally, you will need to prove he or she breached their duty of care – for instance, by speeding or following too closely (tailgating) – which caused your accident and resulted in some form of harm to you.
What to Do After a Rain-Related Car Accident
Experiencing a car accident can be traumatic under any circumstances, and pouring rain only makes the situation more difficult. Nonetheless, there are specific steps you need to take after being involved in a crash. Taking these steps will make it easier to recover compensation for your losses in future proceedings.
Get to a Safe Place
If you can do so safely, try to move your vehicle carefully to the side of the road away from oncoming traffic. This will prevent you from being involved in another collision.
This is one of the most important steps you should take after a crash. Keep in mind that some injuries, such as whiplash, can take 24 hours or longer to show symptoms. Calling 9-1-1 and getting prompt medical care can help you get an early diagnosis, minimizing the risk of health complications resulting from the accident later.
Report Your Accident
Make sure you call the police to report your accident. The investigating officer will make an official report with information about the weather, witness statements, and other facts about the circumstances of the crash. This report can benefit you greatly in future proceedings. For instance, some insurance companies may require a police report to determine whether you are entitled to receive coverage. Acquiring the police report as soon as possible, which an attorney can assist you with, can save you time and money down the road.
How Long Do I Have to File My Claim?
If you are planning on filing a personal injury claim, you should know that you only have a limited time to do so. The statute of limitations is a legal timeline governing the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. For a personal injury case in Pennsylvania, you typically have two years from the date you were injured to file your claim.
Philadelphia Car Accident Attorneys Offering Free Consultations
Dealing with an injury after a car accident can be extremely difficult. The emotional, physical, and psychological scars can have deep and lasting effects. However, you do not have to go through this rough time alone. The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm can fight for the compensation you deserve. Our decades of experience have given us the tools to hold the liable parties accountable for your losses. For a free, confidential legal consultation, call our law offices today at (215) 246-9000, or contact The Reiff Law Firm online.