In general, when you are in a car accident, liability is based on the negligence of one party. The person who fails to behave properly is responsible for paying for damages. What happens, however, when the weather plays a role in the accident? Insurance companies have no concrete or reliable means by which they judge such issues, and when it comes to settling a case, the best thing to do is often to have the services of a qualified Chicago auto accident attorney.
Negligence is the key factor in determining who is at fault in a car accident. Most car accident cases revolve around one or both drivers’ irresponsibility and the degree to which one may have been more negligent than the other. This negligence is what determines whether or not the plaintiff receives compensation for the accident.
The idea behind negligence is that a reasonable person would or would not have behaved in a certain way, then the behavior that goes counter, is negligent. The jury and insurance companies involved examine the accident circumstances to determine negligence.
When the weather is bad, resulting in bad conditions on the road, this can be a relevant factor in determining whether or not a driver’s actions were negligent. Taken in conjunction with speed, normal road conditions, visibility and other elements such as intoxication and distraction, negligence may be determined.
If it is determined, for example, that rainy conditions were light enough that neither visibility or the road were adversely affected, negligence will play a role in the accident. If on the other hand, conditions were icy but the drivers were found to be behaving responsibly, the road conditions might be the determining factor.
Determining whether or not road conditions factor into an accident depends on whether or not the drivers were considered to be acting reasonably. The factors that go into reasonable actions differ for normal road conditions and inclement weather. For example, if the speed limit on a road is 40 in good weather, it may not be considered reasonable to travel 40 when the road conditions are bad.
If the driver could be seen to be reasonably driving based on the available road conditions, the insurance companies might decide to fight a liability claim. Just like the law, insurers take all conditions into account but usually do so on behalf of their client. This is why it can be difficult to prove liability in the case of a bad weather accident.
Since determining what counts as negligence during bad weather can be very tricky, and insurance companies have a vested interest in avoiding payouts for auto accidents, it can be a good idea to secure the services of a qualified Chicago car accident attorney. When you’re in an accident, who is responsible is rarely as cut and dried as it should be, and it’s vital to have in-depth knowledge of the law in your corner in order to reach a proper settlement.
If you’ve been in an accident in Illinois and need the services of a Chicago auto accident attorney, we are ready to help. Call us for a free case evaluation today.