Were you impacted by the recent hurricanes?
Often drivers involved in inclement weather collisions chalk up the accident to the bad weather and accept whatever insurance payout they are offered. Drivers may want to think again. Bad weather doesn’t excuse bad driving. The weather may play a supporting role in a serious accident, but it is dangerous driving and not exercising due caution that should take center stage. This is negligent driving behavior, and it should not be brushed aside because a victim is made to think the weather was solely to blame.
The Lake Charles car accident lawyers of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC want to help victims impacted by weather-related car accidents get the full and fair compensation that they deserve for their injuries. Negligent drivers should be held accountable for their actions, even if inclement weather played a role in causing the accident. Weather doesn’t automatically cause a collision. Careless drivers not taking proper safety precautions do.
If you have been injured in a weather-related crash and want more information about what your claim could be worth, talk to an experienced Lake Charles attorney by calling 337-800-8800. We can schedule a time that works for you to talk about the merits of your case and how we may be able to help you seek the maximum compensation possible following a serious accident. Don’t be made to believe that just because the weather was involved, no one is at fault. Let the team at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC review your situation and determine what legal options may be right for you.
Types of Inclement Weather Accident Cases We Handle
Weather conditions can play a major role in serious car accidents, especially when drivers do not alter their driving behaviors to match the inclement conditions. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an estimated 21 percent of vehicle crashes are weather-related. Lake Charles sits close enough to the Gulf Coast that sometimes-dramatic weather events can significantly impact local roads, causing headaches for drivers.
While long-time residents may be used to handling their cars in rain and wind, Louisiana State Police are warning drivers that changing weather patterns are changing the types of conditions that drivers are having to face on local roads. One local news outlet is warning area residents that icy roads are becoming a serious concern. Some of the most serious weather concerns that are impacting area drivers include:
- Wet or slick roads
- Flooded roads
- Icy roads
Types of Accidents That Are Caused by Inclement Weather
Rear-end accidents are among the most common types of weather-related collisions. Fog, slick roads, or impaired visibility from heavy rainfall make rear-end accidents a relatively common occurrence. This is typically a result of drivers not changing their regular driving behaviors to account for the inclement weather conditions. A speeding driver or a driver that is following too closely cannot react quickly enough to prevent a collision when slick roads change the distance and time it takes to slow down or stop. Rear-end accidents are commonly referred to as “fender benders,” but a rear-end accident when inclement weather is involved can be much more serious and result in traumatic head, neck, and other injuries.
Heavy or thick fog also takes the blame for causing serious pile-up type accidents. Just one driver not using cautious driving behavior in foggy conditions can cause a chain reaction of epic proportions. They hit one car, which stops the flow of traffic, yet the driver behind them can’t see the accident through the fog. That subsequent driver then collides with the first accident, causing another accident and so on. Often, pile-up accidents result in traumatic injuries and fatalities. Some of the other common types of accidents that are caused by inclement weather conditions include:
- Rear-end accidents
- Multi-car accidents
- Semi-truck accidents
- T-bone collisions
- Rollover accidents
- Single-vehicle crashes
Injuries Involved in Inclement Weather Accidents
The types of injuries involved in weather-related accidents vary depending on the circumstances of the crash. However, all weather-related accidents can involve serious and traumatic injuries. The severity of an injury may also be impacted by the weather conditions themselves. A serious injury can quickly become fatal if the weather conditions hamper efforts to reach the crash scene and transport patients to medical facilities. Some of the most typically seen injuries in weather-related crashes tend to include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Head, neck, and spinal damage
- Fractured bones
- Internal injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Wrongful death
Liability in an Inclement Weather Accident
While the weather may be the catalyst for an accident, it still takes a driver’s negligent behavior on unsafe roads to cause a serious collision. Every driver is responsible for evaluating how the changing weather will impact driving conditions and then altering their behavior to accommodate for those conditions. That means that if a driver enters a fog bank, they are responsible for assessing the situation and understanding that because visibility is decreased, they must use caution and slow down.
The same goes for icy or wet roadways. Drivers are responsible for recognizing that the roadway is wet and therefore understand that for safety purposes, they must leave extra room between themselves and the next car.
In order to determine liability for an inclement weather accident, the degree of negligence of each driver must be established. The foundation of establishing this liability is to uncover when a driver may have avoided using due caution in hazardous weather conditions. Some common driving behaviors that may be considered examples of negligent driving behavior in inclement weather conditions include:
- Following too closely
- Failing to use headlights in poor visibility
- Turning too sharply or not slowing down to take a turn in wet or icy conditions
- Failing to have effective windshield wipers
- Failing to scrape ice off the windshield before driving
Compensation for an Inclement Weather Accident
Establishing liability in an inclement weather accident is vital. Why? There are several reasons, and the first is that the state of Louisiana is an at-fault state. This simply means that the driver most at fault for causing an accident is the driver that is responsible for compensating victims who suffer damage as a result of the collision.
In an at-fault state, a victim can attempt to recover compensation through a variety of means. A victim may file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they can file a claim with their own insurance company, or they can choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
The second reason it is crucial to establish liability in an inclement weather accident is that liability can impact compensation payouts. Louisiana subscribes to a “pure comparative fault” model when it comes to doling out compensation after an accident. This rule dictates that compensation should be awarded based on the amount of responsibility each party assumes for causing the crash.
A negligent driver excessively speeding on a wet roadway could be found 70 percent responsible for causing a serious accident. However, if the victim was following too closely, they could be assigned 30 percent liability for causing the accident. In that case, the victim could recover the total amount of damages, minus 30 percent. If damages totaled $100,000, the victim could claim $70,000, and the other driver could claim $30,000.
In Louisiana, the at-fault driver can recover compensation as well as the victim, even if they are mostly responsible for causing an accident. However, it is still the at-fault driver’s responsibility, or the responsibility of their insurance company, to cover the victim’s compensation. The pure comparative fault model binds courtroom decisions on compensation and guides insurance adjusters as they evaluate and negotiate insurance settlement claims.
With this in mind, it is important to gain the help and experience of a skilled inclement weather accident attorney today. A Lake Charles attorney with Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC will have the experience and the resources to investigate the cause of a serious weather-related accident. With the evidence they uncover, it may be possible to negotiate a full and fair settlement that will cover a victim’s medical expenses, time missed from work, and pain and suffering.
Talk to an Experienced Inclement Weather Accident Attorney Today
Bad weather doesn’t have to turn into a bad driving experience. It takes a negligent and careless driver to do that. When another driver throws caution to the wind and doesn’t alter their behavior to accommodate changing weather conditions, accidents can happen. If you’ve been caught up in an accident like that, turn to the experienced Lake Charles legal team at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC for help.
At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we will take the time to sit down with you and review all the elements of your case in an open and honest way. Once we get a clear understanding of your situation, we can focus on how we may be able to best help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Before you accept an insurance payout, talk to the attorneys with Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC first. Call us today at 337-800-8800 to talk about your case and schedule a free, initial consultation.