With poor weather conditions such as rain, snow and ice comes the increased risk of getting into a car accident. Typically when an accident occurs in North Carolina that is the fault of at least one party, the law of negligence applies. All drivers owe a duty of reasonable care to those around them to operate their vehicles in a reasonably prudent manner given the present circumstances of the road and its conditions to avoid injuring others. If a driver breaches that duty of care and that breach is the proximate cause of another’s injuries, the driver may be held liable for negligence and responsible for compensating those injured by the driver’s negligence to put them in as good of a position as they were in prior to the accident.
When bad weather conditions affect the roads, such as when extreme winter weather blankets a road with snow and ice, the standard of reasonable care increases. This means that every driver on that road will be held to a higher level of responsibility when they’re driving on that road versus when they’re driving on that road under normal weather conditions. For example, while a driver may have been driving within a posted speed limit on a snowy road, they may be considered to be driving too fast, and thus in breach of the duty of reasonable care, because the snowy road likely requires greater braking distance than the road under normal conditions to bring the vehicle to a stop to avoid colliding into others. If that driver causes an accident, it may be determined that the accident could have been prevented and others may have not been injured had the driver who caused the accident drove at a slower speed. Thus, when there is rain, snow or ice, drivers should reduce their speed and increase their following distance from other vehicles to avoid injuring others. However, in other scenarios, such as in rear end collision situations under bad weather conditions, a driver who rear ends another vehicle may be seen to have been abiding by the applicable duty of reasonable care, because they maintained an appropriate following distance, because ice, not a breach of the duty of reasonable care caused their car to slide into the vehicle in front of them.
We strongly encourage you to seek the advice of a licensed North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving bad weather conditions such as rain, snow, ice or hail, where you could potentially recover damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage and other compensable damages. While bad weather conditions may be considered in evaluating a motor vehicle accident injury claim, such conditions are typically only viewed as a single factor in evaluating such claims. At Biazzo & Panchenko Law, we are prepared to negotiate a settlement for you or file a lawsuit and pursue your case through a jury verdict if warranted, to obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact Biazzo & Panchenko Law today to schedule your free Personal Injury consultation. This blog is not to be construed as legal advice.