Bad Weather Accidents Lawyer in St. Louis
Handling accident claims related to weather conditions and driver negligence in MO and IL
Living in the Midwest, we experience a wide range of weather conditions – snow, ice, and sleet in the winter, slippery leaves in the fall, and fog, high winds, and heavy rain in the summer. We keep on living our lives and driving our vehicles through it all but, unfortunately, many motorists often underestimate the dangers of strong and unpredictable weather.
If you were the victim of a bad weather collision or crash, you may be hesitant to pursue legal options because it might seem like the accident was out of the other driver’s control. However, if the other driver failed to take precautions to adjust to the weather conditions or otherwise acted with negligence and you were injured as a result, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.
At The Hayden Law Firm, we have over 15 years of experience advocating for the rights of victims injured in car and truck accidents. We provide skilled and client-focused representation, so feel free to contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation. We serve the greater St. Louis area and Illinois.
What are bad weather accidents?
Drivers of any skill level face all sorts of challenges when driving in bad weather. Reduced visibility, slippery conditions, standing water, and hydroplaning can all increase your chances of being involved in a serious car accident. 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
- The majority of weather-related crashes happen during wet conditions – 70% on wet pavement and 46% during rainfall
- Only 18% of bad weather crashes occur during snow and sleet, 13% on icy pavement, and 16% on snowy/slushy pavement
Victims involved in one of 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 claim against the negligent party to recover damages for lost wages, property damage, medical costs, pain and suffering, and more.
What kinds of injuries result from bad weather crashes?
Injuries from weather-related collisions and accidents are similar to injuries from other motor vehicle accidents. However, these types of injuries can worsen when weather-related complications are involved, like a medical helicopter being unable to get to the scene in a timely manner due to bad visibility, or a victim being exposed to the elements during a rescue from a crash site.
Typical injuries from bad weather car crashes include:
WE GET RESULTS
Everyone’s injuries and everyone’s recovery is unique. When you work with The Hayden Law Firm, you work with a firm that has a long and successful record of wins for our clients. We get to the bottom of your accident to find out exactly who should be held accountable for your losses.
Who is liable in a St. Louis weather-related car crash?
After you file a claim, 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 and inclement 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:
- Distracted driving. Bad weather is one of the most crucial times for drivers to remain focused on the road. For example, texting and driving while on a foggy or icy road is an accident waiting to happen, when conditions are completely unpredictable.
- 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 can significantly reduce visibility which, in turn, increases the chances of accidents. Although it’s not against the law to not remove snow from your vehicle in Missouri, if that snow or ice decreases your or another motorist’s visibility, you could be held at fault for an accident.
- Failure to properly maintain car parts. As a car owner, all drivers are required to keep up with the maintenance of their car. This includes headlights, wipers, tires, and brakes, which all contribute to safe operation during treacherous conditions.
- Failure to turn on headlights. In Missouri, headlights are required when conditions are rainy or overcast in order to improve visibility for all vehicles, as well as shortly after sunset to shortly before sunrise.
- 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. It is much easier to lose control of a vehicle in wet or icy conditions than in normal road conditions.
- Tailgating. Drivers that follow too closely are at an increased risk of rear-ending the vehicle in front of them. Even in fair conditions, it can be hard to make a car or SUV come to a quick stop – in rain or ice, it can result in tragedy.
Drivers who act negligently or recklessly in bad weather are not only putting their own lives at risk, but they’re also endangering everyone else around them. When you take action against the driver who has acted negligently and injured you or a loved one, you may also be stopping them from hurting others in the future. The Hayden Law Firm can help.
As Missouri law states, “Every person operating a motor vehicle on the roads and highways of this state shall drive the vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or the life or limb of any person and shall exercise the highest degree of care.”
How can I avoid a bad weather crash?
The bad news is that none of us can avoid a negligent driver. The good news is that we can all do our part to keep our Missouri roads safe. Keep these tips in mind the next time the weather turns ominous:
- Stay home. Of course, this is easier said than done, but unless driving is an absolute necessity, consider putting off your travel until the weather clears. If you’re already out on the road when a storm or other weather event begins, you can also pull over to a safe area.
- Ensure your tires are safe. Before winter weather begins, make sure your vehicle has appropriate snow tires or chains. Don’t put this off, especially if you are often out on the roads during the winter.
- Visibility is key. Keep your headlights on during bad weather so other drivers and pedestrians can see you. Use your wipers properly to keep your windshield clear, as well as ensure all snow is removed from your vehicle, including the roof and every window. Always have an ice scraper and extra wiper fluid handy.
- Slow it down. It doesn’t matter how high the posted speed limit is; if the weather is hazardous, every driver needs to slow down. The faster you’re traveling, the more difficult it will be to stop your vehicle in an emergency.
Above all, stay calm. Panicking or hyper-vigilance can actually make your driving worse, much like distracted driving, affecting your ability to think clearly. Remember, you can always pull over to a safe place to wait out the worst of the weather.
How can a St. Louis bad weather crash lawyer help me?
Although weather and road conditions may be taken into account when determining who is at fault in a collision, poor weather does not excuse unsafe driving. If a driver loses control of their car because they did not properly respond to the weather, they should be held responsible for causing the accident, which is why you need the help of a St. Louis personal injury lawyer at The Hayden Law Firm.
Proving negligence in these types of cases is complex. The rain or snow often means that witnesses were not able to see what actually happened, so it can end up being your word against the other driver. An experienced attorney can effectively plead your case to the insurance company and in court, if necessary.
We will launch a thorough investigation to find key details that firmly prove negligence on the part of the other driver. Not only that, we take the time to understand your injuries and then explain those injuries better than anyone else. Remember, your injury claim must be filed under your state’s statute of limitations, which in Missouri is five years.
We get you the results you need when you need them most.
St. Louis bad weather accident attorney
Personal injury cases from weather-related accidents can be complex. At The Hayden Law Firm, we’re not afraid of these types of claims, and we work to secure fair and just compensation when you are injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Please call our offices at 314-480-3100 or fill out our contact form for a free, no-risk consultation. We are based in St. Louis, Missouri, but our firm proudly serves clients throughout Missouri and Illinois.