Pennsylvania has many winding back roads and one-lane roads throughout the countryside. Unfortunately, roads like that make weather a big contributor of vehicle accidents when the state receives snow, ice, or rain.
There also is fog in PA, as well as snow and thunderstorms, which cause drivers to experience reduced visibility. If poor weather conditions contributed to your vehicle collision, you might benefit from contacting a Western PA bad weather accident lawyer. A local car crash attorney could investigate the weather conditions on the day of your collision and determine if you have grounds for legal recourse.
If a person is in an accident and the weather is bad, the first thing to do is to move the vehicles to a safe location so as to avoid additional collisions with oncoming vehicles, particularly if there is reduced visibility, snow or ice. Sometimes, it is safest to stay in the vehicle, especially if the weather conditions result in poor visibility or icy roads, as leaving the car puts a person at risk of being struck by an oncoming vehicle. To promote visibility, people should turn on their vehicle flashers and stay away from oncoming traffic. One should also seek immediate medical attention.
If there are severe weather conditions, such as ice, snow, or fog, a court will look at that in determining who is at fault for the accident. For example, if a driver is at a stop light and he or she is rear-ended by a driver who is unable to stop in time, a court will look at when the defendant used the brakes, how far out he or she was, and whether he or she had enough time to stop.
Adverse weather conditions on the roadway is not an excuse for drivers to get into accidents. Instead, drivers are expected to make educated decisions based on the weather. For example, one must drive slower if the roads are icy and make it more difficult to stop. If a person is making a decision that is not reasonable under the circumstances, he or she can be found to be at fault.
A Western PA attorney could hold a driver at-fault for operating his or her vehicle in an unsafe manner based on the current weather conditions. Some examples of unsafe driving behaviors in poor weather include:
Weather will be looked at in the context of the circumstances that caused the accident and can play a major factor in why it happened and who is liable.
In order to make a recovery for a victim, attorneys in Western Pennsylvania must prove that another driver was at fault for the accident, which could include the defendant failing to account for an external factor such as adverse weather. If a weather condition itself is the cause of a crash, such as if a tornado blows a stopped vehicle into another, a claimant cannot make a recovery because no one is legally at fault.
A lawyer must prove that the defendant drove in a manner that was not reasonable given those weather conditions. This first requires establishing what the weather was on the day of the collision.
An experienced attorney could find this by looking at the police report and any photos of the scene. He or she could also obtain weather records and investigate whether it was snowing or raining on the day of the collision. An attorney might also examine the vehicles involved to determine if the weather contributed to the collision.