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Determining Liability for Accidents During Heavy Rainfall

Determining Liability for Accidents During Heavy Rainfall

By
Abasi Major
January 11, 2023

In bad weather conditions, your risk of being involved in an accident increases significantly. Heavy rainfall can cause slick roads and low visibility that make driving dangerous for both drivers and pedestrians alike.

It's important to know how to identify who may be held liable for a crash during inclement weather.

How Liability is Determined for a Rainfall Accident 

When it comes to determining liability in a rainfall accident, there are several factors that may come into play. 

The most important factor is whether or not the defendant had a duty of care towards the plaintiff and if that duty was breached. If a duty of care existed and then was breached, the defendant will likely be found liable for any damages caused by the breach.

In addition, negligence must be established in order to assign liability. Negligence is defined as the failure of a person to use reasonable care when confronted with a foreseeable risk of harm or injury. 

To prove negligence, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant had a duty of care towards them and that they breached it by failing to act as a reasonable person would have in the same situation.

Contributory negligence must also be established. This means that the plaintiff is partially at fault for their damages due to their own actions or lack thereof. If it can be proven that the plaintiff's own carelessness contributed to their injuries, then any award of damages may be reduced or eliminated according to the degree of fault.

How Drivers May Be Held Liable 

The degree to which a driver may be held liable in a rainfall car accident depends on the circumstances. Generally speaking, drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles with caution and adhere to traffic laws under all weather conditions. 

When the driver fails to take reasonable care while driving in rainy conditions, such as by speeding or failing to reduce speed, then they could be considered negligent and liable for any resulting damages.

Courts may also take a look at other factors, such as: 

  • Whether or not the driver was driving without headlights on.
  • Whether or not the driver was driving with hazard lights on.
  • Whether or not there was poor vehicle maintenance. 
  • Whether or not the driver was reckless or careless. 

In some cases, drivers may only bear partial responsibility for a car accident due to the influence of inclement weather conditions. In such situations, it is important to evaluate all factors that contributed to the crash before assigning fault. 

A driver can be partially responsible if they did not take adequate precautions to prevent a collision, such as if another vehicle hydroplaned and crashed into them. Even though the other driver is primarily responsible, the first driver can still be held partially liable for not exercising reasonable caution in the rain.

Other Parties That Bear Liability 

In a rainfall car accident, there are other parties that can bear liability in addition to the driver of a vehicle. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, any or all of these liable parties could be held responsible for damages. 

  • Owner of a vehicle - may be liable if they gave permission to an inexperienced or reckless driver to drive their vehicle. This is especially true if a driver under the age of 18 was given permission to drive, as parents and guardians are responsible for any negligence that results in an accident.
  • Municipality or government agency responsible for maintaining public roads - may be liable for damages caused by poor road conditions. 
  • Construction site operators and managers - may be liable if the accident was caused by improperly contained equipment.
  • Vehicle manufacturer - may be liable if a vehicle defect or malfunction caused an accident. In some cases, even the seller of a vehicle or auto parts can be held liable for damages caused by defective products.

Call a Car Accident Attorney After a Rainfall Crash 

It is important to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident, particularly when rain or other wet weather conditions are involved. A skilled car accident attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options, as well as how to best protect yourself from liability. Talk to one of our car accident lawyers today. 

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