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Bad Weather Accident Lawsuits in Missouri
It goes without saying: you face many different challenges when driving in bad weather. Reduced visibility, slippery conditions, standing water, and hydroplaning can all increase your chances of being involved in a devastating car accident that is all too common across the United States. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) reports that:
- 21 percent of all vehicle crashes each year are weather-related
- Of those crashes, an average of 418,000 people are injured and 5,376 people are killed, accounting for about 16 percent of all auto accident deaths
People involved in one of these weather-related accidents often suffer from severe injuries that require extensive treatment. If you find yourself struggling to cover medical costs after a bad weather accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the negligent party to recover damages for lost wages, property damage, medical costs, pain and suffering, and more.
Negligence in Weather-Related Car Accidents
The other driver — and their insurance company — may try to claim that the bad weather was the only factor to blame for why your accident occurred. However, the fact remains that you were driving in the same conditions, but you did not cause an accident.
Missouri law requires everyone to drive responsibly and with due care at all times. There is no exception to this rule based on the weather or conditions of the roads. This means that drivers must take extra precautions to drive safely when it comes to bad weather.
Recovering compensation in these types of cases often comes down to proving that the other driver was negligent in taking precautions and, therefore, caused the accident.
Examples of negligence in bad weather accidents include:
- Speeding – When conditions are treacherous, it is required that drivers must reduce speed so that they have complete control over the car at all times.
- Tailgating – Drivers that follow too closely to the car in front of them are at an increased risk of rear-ending. Even in fair conditions, it can be hard to stop the car; add in rain or ice, and that makes for a deadly combination.
- Distracted driving – Bad weather is perhaps when it is most important for drivers to remain focused on the road. For example, texting and driving while on an icy road is an accident just waiting to happen.
- Failure to turn on headlights – Headlights are required in Missouri when conditions are rainy or overcast in order to improve visibility for all vehicles.
- Failure to clear ice, snow, or condensation from the window(s) – When people are in a hurry in the morning to get to work, they sometimes neglect to properly clear their car windows. This significantly reduces visibility which, in turn, increases the chances of accidents.
- Failure to properly maintain car parts – As a car owner, all drivers are required to keep up with the maintenance of certain elements of their car. This includes wipers, tires, and brakes, which all contribute to safe operation during treacherous conditions.
Drivers who are found guilty of any of the above are not only putting their own lives at risk, but they’re also endangering everyone else around them. They should be held responsible for this disregard of safety. When you take action against a driver who has acted negligently, you may be stopping them from hurting others in the future.