Due to inclement weather conditions during the winter, motorists have an increased chance of accidents and injuries. The winter season presents more hazardous driving conditions due to snow and ice which can cause motorists to lose control of their vehicle. In the unfortunate event that you have been in an auto accident due to inclement weather conditions, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our knowledgeable Prince George’s County Auto Accident Lawyer who can help you understand who is responsible for damages in this type of collision.
How is fault determined in a weather-related auto accident?
Maryland is an at-fault state, meaning victims are entitled to file a lawsuit against a negligent party to recover financial compensation for their damages. Victims of auto accidents must fulfill the burden of proof:
- Establish that the other driver owed a standard duty of care to adhere to the rules of the road and to operate their motor vehicle safely to ensure everyone’s safety.
- Prove the negligent party breached that standard duty of care.
- Prove that the breach caused the victim’s injuries and damages.
However, when an auto accident occurs as a result of inclement weather conditions, drivers are held responsible because they are legally obligated to operate their vehicle safely. In addition, they are required to abide by the rules of the road. Motorists may blame the weather for an accident, however, motorists are liable as they are required to adapt and modify their driving techniques to reflect weather conditions. Motorists will be held legally responsible for the cause of an auto accident if they did not adjust their driving techniques to reflect inclement weather conditions. Motorists are liable if:
- They did not adjust their speed to reflect weather conditions (speeding).
- They neglected to keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
- They neglected to maintain their vehicle.
- They neglected to clear snow or ice off their vehicle.
- And any other negligent actions that could have been otherwise been prevented if the motorist modified their driving techniques to reflect inclement weather conditions.
If two motorists lose control of their vehicle due to negligent actions, they will both be liable for their damages. This is because they were legally required to operate their vehicle safely. To safely operate a motor vehicle in inclement weather motorists should:
- Drive at a slower speed than the posted speed limit
- Enhance visibility by driving with the hazard lights on
- Clear snow and ice covering the vehicle
- Drive at a safe distance from other vehicles
- Make slow turns
- Maintain the vehicle (fix any hazardous conditions such as worn-out tires)
Oftentimes, inclement weather conditions cause motorists to lose control of their vehicle which causes a collision to occur. To avoid accidents and injuries, motorist must operate their vehicles safely and appropriately. The driving technique of motorists needs to be adjusted to increase safety and prevent collisions. If weather conditions are inclement, motorists should make an effort to stay off the roads.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a weather-related auto accident, contact one of our experienced and determined team members. As a firm, we are committed to achieving favorable outcomes for our clients.