Los Angeles Weather Accident Lawyers
Driving in inclement weather can be difficult and complicated. While Southern California typically has year-round warm weather, occasional storms and strong winds can cause dangers for motorists on neighborhood roads and highways alike. Although some drivers might assume that they cannot be held liable for crashes that result from dangerous weather, it is important to know that motorists all have a duty to other drivers on the road, and this duty can include driving at lower speeds and changing driving methods when the weather is hazardous.
Were you recently injured in a motor vehicle crash caused by inclement weather? A Los Angeles weather accident lawyer can examine the facts of your case today and can discuss options for moving forward with your claim. Do not hesitate to reach out to the dedicated team at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers.
Elements of a Negligence Claim Resulting from a Weather Accident
Drivers on the road must behave reasonably behind the wheel. When there is potentially dangerous weather that could make the roads more hazardous, drivers have a duty to act reasonably, which often means slowing down or turning on headlights. When a driver fails to take precautions and an accident happens, the injured party may be able to argue that the driver breached the duty of care that she or he owed to other motorists on the road by driving in a careless or reckless manner under the conditions.
To win a negligence claim, a plaintiff must be able to prove the following essential factual elements under California law:
- Defendant was negligent;
- Plaintiff suffered harm; and
- Defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.
What Types of Inclement Weather Can Cause Accidents?
You may be wondering what types of weather could cause an accident. While California is said to have “perfect” sunny weather year-round, there can often be intense rainfall, fog, smog, and other weather conditions that lead to impaired driving. When rainfall is heavy enough, it can result in flooding, hydroplaning, and ultimately accidents.
Flooding and Hydroplaning
One risk factor that can be hard to foresee and impossible to prevent is that of flash flooding. When heavy rains hit, flash flooding can be a serious threat, leaving drivers already on the road with few options.
Heavy rains and flash floods create a number of risks for drivers, including:
- Heavy traffic and congestion;
- Poor visibility;
- Lane obstructions;
- Impaired roadway quality;
- Obstacles traveling in flood waters;
- Hydroplaning; and
Smog and Fog
The truth is that fog and smog is not an excuse for negligent driving. Drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely. When the risk of an accident is increased due to uncontrollable factors (i.e. poor weather, fog, or smog), the duty of a driver to exercise their vehicle with the property degree of care is heightened.
When visibility is poor, drivers are obliged to turn on their lights, slow their speed, minimize distractions, increase following distance, and take other basic safety precautions. If they fail to do so and this failure leads to an accident, the responsible driver can be held liable for any harm that results.
How Long Do I Have to File a Weather Accident Claim in Los Angeles?
The statute of limitations for most auto accident claims in California is two years. This means that an injured person has two years from the date of the accident that caused her injuries to file a claim for compensation.
At the same time, if the claim is against a government agency of any type, the statute of limitations drops to only six months in most cases. This statute of limitations could apply to your case if the negligent driver was a government employee who was working at the time of the collision, for example.
Failure to file a claim within the time window designated by the statute of limitations can mean that a potential plaintiff is barred from filing a lawsuit.
How Can Comparative Fault Impact My Weather Accident Case?
Comparative fault is typically a defense raised by the negligent party that argues the plaintiff is partially responsible for the accident. Under California law, a plaintiff can still recover damages whether she is 1 percent or 99 percent responsible for an accident. However, her damages award will be reduced by her percentage of fault.
For instance, if a plaintiff is awarded $1,000,000 and is found to be 50 percent responsible, her award would be reduced by 50 percent (or $500,000), and she would recover the remaining $500,000.
Contact a Los Angeles Weather Accident Attorney
If you were injured because of another party’s negligence in a crash, a weather accident attorney in Los Angeles can help. Contact El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers today.
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