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Can You Blame Bad Weather for Your Car Accident?

Suffering personal injury from an accident in bad weather can elicit a lot of questions. For many accident victims, the primary question is whether or not to pursue litigation against the other party. While consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney is always the preferred course of action, this article aims to provide some basic information on what factors should be considered in bad weather cases.

The Role of Negligence

When the weather turns dangerous for drivers, it is assumed that anyone out on the road is engaging in a higher level of risk than normal. Driving in inclement weather is not in and of itself a cause for accident victims to pursue litigation. As any experienced personal injury attorney can attest, any promising personal injury lawsuit must be able to show that the other driver was behaving negligently to a significant degree.

Nevada state law follows the doctrine of fault determination known as “comparative negligence.” Under this system, when someone is injured in a car accident and decides to take the other driver to court in an attempt to recover financial compensation for damages incurred, the court will review the behavior of each party in the events leading up to the accident. The courts are looking to determine to what degree each party was ultimately responsible for the accident.

As an example, let’s say that you are driving along and suddenly you get hit from the side by another vehicle and suffer a personal injury as a result. Through the course of investigation, it is determined that the other driver was distracted by a text message. However, it is also determined that you were speeding.  Ultimately, the court decides that you were 30% at fault for the accident, and the other party was 70% at fault.

Under Nevada’s comparative negligence system of fault determination, the total amount of compensation you are eligible to recover for damages will be reduced by 30%. This reflects your level of fault. When it comes to accidents that occur in bad weather, there are a number of behaviors or decisions drivers can make that show they are acting in a negligent manner.  Examples are described in the following section.

Driving Responsibly in Poor Weather

When drivers know they are embarking on a journey that will encounter inclement weather, there are a number of precautions that can be taken. For example, if snow is in the forecast then drivers can ensure their tires are properly maintained and equipped for those driving conditions.  

Broken windshield wipers or malfunctioning headlights are other examples of car maintenance items that should be addressed by car owners before they head out in bad weather. While every case is different in the eyes of the court, it is not unreasonable to assume that the judge will look at a failure to attend to critical safety features of the vehicle as a sign that the driver was being negligent. Compensation amounts are therefore likely to be reduced, regardless of who was primarily at fault.

Professional Legal Support in Las Vegas

For years, the attorneys at H&P Law have been helping accident victims in Las Vegas recover compensation for their injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. Contact H&P Law today for expert insight into your case.

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