Inclement weather, such as heavy rainfall, can increase the risk of a car accident. However, determining liability for car accidents during heavy rainfall may be more difficult because of several factors. First, you might have difficulty seeing what happened if the rainfall impaired your visibility. Another factor is that fewer witnesses could have seen the accident occur.
Typically, an attorney can help to determine liability after a car accident. Even if there is heavy rainfall, drivers still owe each other a duty of care. This means they still need to drive safely and follow the laws of the road.
Behaviors That Could Cause Accidents During Heavy Rainfall
If a driver breaches their duty of care and doesn’t follow safe driving practices, you could hold them liable for the accident. Examples of unsafe driving behaviors during heavy rainfall include:
- Driving without headlights
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
If someone causes an accident during heavy rain for one of these reasons, you can hold them accountable. Once you determine liability, you could file a claim against the liable party to recover compensation for your damages.
Driving Without Headlights
Ohio laws state that vehicles that operate at any time there is precipitation require the driver to turn on their windshield wipers. At the same time, they must also have their headlights on. This law is put in place to increase visibility among drivers.
If a driver causes an accident because they don’t have their headlights on in heavy rain, the injured party could hold the other driver liable.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Drivers must maintain their vehicles properly to avoid road accidents. During heavy rain, there are many ways poor vehicle maintenance could cause an accident, including:
- Low tread on the tires: If the tread on the tires has worn down, it could increase the stopping distance. When rainfall is heavy, tires with low treads could slide into surrounding vehicles.
- Defective windshield wipers: If the windshield wipers do not work or do not remove precipitation from the windshield effectively, it can drastically increase the chances of an accident. The injured party could hold the driver with defective windshield wipers accountable if that caused the accident.
If a driver knows their vehicle is not properly maintained but drives it anyway, you could consider their actions negligent. Driving with an unmaintained vehicle is a breach of their duty of care.
The most important aspect of following the duty of care is for drivers to ensure they’re driving in a safe and reasonable manner to keep others on the road safe. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers reckless driving behaviors as the following:
- Excessive speeding: Driving over the speed limit, especially during heavy rainfall, can increase stopping distance and the possibility of an accident.
- Weaving in and out of traffic: When cars continuously change lanes, they could hit someone who is in their blind spot. It is more difficult to monitor blind spots when it’s raining, making this behavior more dangerous.
- Tailgating or following other vehicles too closely: Heavy rain can limit visibility drastically. If a car stops suddenly, it could take a driver longer to see, which can cause an accident.
- Driving while intoxicated: Driving while intoxicated is illegal because of how much it can impair someone’s cognitive abilities. When someone drives while intoxicated, it is already a dangerous act. It is even more dangerous when there is heavy rainfall.
- Fatigued driving: Driving while fatigued can cause significant impairments comparable to driving while intoxicated.
Any type of reckless driving behavior, especially during heavy rainfall, can cause an accident. Therefore, the person engaging in the behavior is liable if their actions caused the accident.
How to Determine Liability for Accidents During Heavy Rainfall
Determining liability in an accident takes the skills of an attorney who has experience investigating these accidents. An attorney can take the following steps to determine liability:
- Review the police report.
- Analyze any evidence collected from the scene.
- Locate any surveillance cameras that could have captured the accident.
- Review vehicle inspection reports to determine if the vehicle that caused the accident needed maintenance on their vehicle.
- Contact witnesses and get their statements.
By performing these steps, you could have a better chance of determining liability in your case. Once you determine liability, you can file a claim against the accurate party to collect compensation for your damages. Damages could include medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, and emotional distress.
Contact A Car Accident Attorney Today
Reach out to an attorney for more information about determining liability for accidents that happen during heavy rainfall. The lawyers at The Fitch Law Firm LLC have handled many accident cases that occurred during heavy rainfall and know the steps to take to determine liability.
Contact us today for a free consultation. During the consultation, you can ask questions you’ve prepared, and we can provide information regarding your case. After the consultation, you can determine if we are the right fit to take on your case.