The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) confirms that bad weather causes “visibility impairments,” which affect a driver’s capabilities as well as the vehicle’s performance. In fact, FHA data reveal that about 22 percent of the car accidents in the country each year are weather-related. In Illinois, a significant number of auto accidents are also weather-related. Rain, snow, sleet, fog, and wind can all affect a person’s ability to drive safely. During a harsh Illinois winter, black ice can be a serious threat to road safety.
These weather conditions can reduce visibility, traction, speed control, and even brake performance, which is why it is important for drivers to take all necessary precautions behind the wheel. Common causes of accidents in poor weather conditions include:
- Traveling too fast for weather conditions;
- Tailgating or not maintaining a safe braking distance;
- Running red lights or stop signs;
- Not recognizing stopped or stalled vehicles;
- Skidding or losing control of the vehicle; or
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
To recover compensation in a weather-related accident case, fault must be established. If you have been injured in a car accident in bad weather, you may be able to file a negligence claim against the at-fault party. Negligence occurs when an injury or death happens as a result of a person failing to use reasonable care behind the wheel. Reasonable care is defined as how a prudent person would act under the same or similar circumstances. To establish negligence, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s unreasonable conduct was a direct cause of the collision and the plaintiff’s resulting harm. The determination of whether a defendant’s conduct was reasonable will be made by a judge or jury if the case does not settle.
In some cases, a local government entity may be liable in a weather-related crash. For instance, if the government failed to maintain the road properly, and that road condition made the accident worse, the government may be at fault for contributing to the accident. Lawsuits against the government can be challenging, since certain procedural requirements need to be met, but our attorneys know how to handle these cases.
Weather-related accidents can result in serious and long-term injuries. In the most serious cases, these crashes can result in death. If liability is established, the injured person may be owed compensation for a variety of losses, including medical bills, lost wages for missed work, and pain and suffering, as well as property damage. Each case is unique, and the precise dollar amount that a plaintiff will be able to recover will depend on the specifics of the case.
Discuss Your Potential Claim with an Injury Lawyer in Wheaton or Schaumburg
If you have been involved in a weather-related accident, you need to reach out to a capable car accident attorney who understands how to navigate complex motor vehicle collision cases. With decades of combined experience, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients at every step of the way. Time is of the essence in these cases, so it is important to act quickly. Our firm proudly serves people in cities such as Wheaton, Schaumburg, Lombard, Villa Park, Addison, Elmhurst, West Chicago, Lemont, Westmont, Oakbrook Terrace, Clarendon Hills, and Downers Grove. We can evaluate all of the facts of your case and help you decide how to proceed. Call us today at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.