Besides speeding and drunk driving, inclement weather is one of the leading causes of car accidents in Virginia. Roads can be dangerous even under the most favorable circumstances. The risks increase exponentially when weather conditions deteriorate. Weather conditions play a role in 21 percent of car crashes nationwide. Weather conditions may also play a prominent role in a car accident report.
Police Officers Will Write Car Accident Reports
When a police officer shows up to an accident scene, they will write a report. The level of detail that goes into the report depends on the individual officer and what they have observed about the accident scene. Generally, the accident report will contain some basic details the officer spotted when they showed up at the scene.
One of the key components of a police accident report is their observation about the conditions at the time of the accident. The officer may note if weather conditions were anything out of the ordinary. For example, they might note whether:
- The roads were slippery at the time of the accident, and at the location, due to snow and ice.
- It was raining heavily at the time of the accident, or it had just started to rain. Roads are at their most dangerous when rain begins to fall because oil and other contaminants on the roadway come to the surface.
- It was an exceptionally bright day without any cloud cover. Extremely bright conditions could raise the risk of car accidents because the driver is unable to see.
- There were heavy winds that made it difficult for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles.
The Accident Report Could Help Determine Liability
Insurance companies may consider the role that weather played in a crash. In some cases, the weather could make it more difficult to pinpoint one of the drivers as the cause of the crash.
Weather is only one factor in a car accident report. The officer may also note witnesses’ descriptions of each motorist’s driving. However, the two may tie in together. For example, If a driver was driving 35 miles per hour in a 35 miles-per-hour zone, it may actually be dangerous to drive at that speed because the weather conditions would demand that a reasonable driver go slower.
Liability Rules Still Apply in Bad Weather
Drivers who caused a car accident cannot escape liability by simply blaming the weather. For example, if a driver lost control of their car on ice, they would still be responsible for the accident. The normal rules of liability and negligence are not suspended just because conditions on the roads were less than optimal. A driver is at fault for the accident when they failed to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. Note that different circumstances may call for different actions.
Motorists should use their judgment about when to stay off the roads and how fast to travel when the weather is bad. The speed limit is the maximum allowable speed under the circumstances. If the roads are slippery, or it is raining heavily, drivers should travel at a safe speed that accounts for the weather conditions. In some cases, drivers should make the choice to stay home completely unless travel is absolutely essential.
If you have been involved in a car accident where weather was a factor, you will need an experienced attorney. The insurance company may deny your claim if you do not have proof that the other driver was to blame for the accident. Alternatively, the insurance company may point a finger at you because the harsh weather conditions could obscure and cause confusion over what really happened.
Speak to Our Experienced Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident where weather was a factor, you may be entitled to financial compensation. At Anchor Legal Group, PLLC, we understand a car accident can be traumatic. You can count on us to fight for the maximum compensation available and seek the justice you deserve. Call our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at 757-LAW-0000 or complete our online form for a confidential consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore, Virginia.