Inclement weather, such as monsoons can severely increase the risk of an accident. In these accidents involving poor weather conditions, liability can become more complex, depending on the specific facts of the case. In today's article, we'll discuss liability during monsoon conditions.
If you've been in an accident with contested liability during monsoon conditions, don't take the chance of having the finger pointed at you. Consult an experienced and trusted car crash lawyer today. To schedule a free initial case review, call or text our injury lawyers at 602-345-1818 or fill out our online form here.
So How Is Liability Determined in Heavy Rain Conditions?
Liability for car accidents that happen during inclement weather is determined the same way it is determined in other car accidents. The at-fault party will be determined based on the evidence present in the car accident case, which may include:
- The police report
- Property damage (damage to vehicles, surrounding objects, the road, ground, etc)
- Bodily injuries
- Video footage and photographs
- Forensic analysis in some cases
- Medical reports
- Medical bills and other relevant expenses
- Eyewitness interviews
Typically, the responding officer will make the initial determinations of fault to include in the initial police report. While the official police report will be a key piece of evidence, it is not the end-all-be-all in deciding who caused the event. Following the accident, each party will notify their own insurance companies, which will assign adjusters to the claims. From there, the insurance company will conduct an investigation to determine who was at fault in the accident by reviewing the available evidence.
Don't worry if both the police officer and the adjuster think you're at fault. Other evidence may exist to refute this. Similarly, fault may be divided among the parties involved. If you are getting full liability pinned onto you after a car accident, be sure to speak with a car accident attorney. A lawyer may help resolve you of the fault or identify additional at-fault parties. Even if you're proven to be partially liable, you may still be eligible for financial compensation. Don't just give up if you're in this situation – call Impact Legal's car crash lawyers today at 602-345-1818.
When Liability Is Divided Among Multiple Parties
Negligence equals liability. These four elements are used to prove negligence in an accident:
- Duty - It must be proven that the defendant (liable party) owed the plaintiff (injured party) a duty of care. In a car accident case, this means that the defendant had a duty to others on the road to operate his or her vehicle in a reasonable and safe manner.
- Breach - After duty has been established, it must be shown that the defendant breached his or her duty of care to use reasonable care while driving.
- Causation - Evidence that the defendant directly caused injury due to his or her actions must exist.
- Damages - Evidence should support that the plaintiff incurred losses (damages) as a result of the accident.
If more than one party is found to be negligent, responsibility for the wreck can be shared and divided among them. The insurance adjusters will assign a percentage of fault to each party based on the investigation. This is set forth by the doctrine of comparative negligence, to which Arizona and New Mexico both adhere. Comparative negligence allows parties to recover some compensation even if they played a part in causing the accident. A partially liable party's settlement will be decreased by the percentage of fault they are determined to have had in the accident. For example, if Bob, who was 20 percent liable for the accident, was rewarded $100,000 in damages, he would only receive $80,000.
Special Considerations When Determining Liability in Bad Weather
Driving in poor weather conditions means increased responsibility and safety measures when it comes to avoiding accidents. When a driver is proven to have neglected these increased responsibilities, they could be at risk of being held liable for the damages caused by the wreck.
Some special considerations that may put drivers at risk of liability during inclement weather include:
- Driving without headlights turned on - In Arizona, if visibility is fewer than 500 feet, you must turn on your headlights. Not doing so in poor conditions may increase your chances of liability. ARS § 28-922.
- Driving with your hazards on - Driving with your hazards on is illegal in some states. Many people are surprised to hear that they shouldn't turn on hazards in heavy downpours. Doing so could get you a citation and increase complexity around fault.
- Poor vehicle maintenance - If you've failed to maintain your vehicle making it unsafe, especially in poor weather conditions, you could be found liable for the accident due to faulty brakes, steering, tires, etc.
- Recklessly driving - When driving, drivers are expected to reasonably take steps to avoid accidents. Driving recklessly will increase your chances of liability and could put you on the hook for additional citations and charges. ARS § 28-693.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Car Crash Lawyers
Monsoon season in Arizona can be dangerous. If you've been hurt in an accident, don't wait – call our car crash lawyers today for a free case review. Let us help you get the financial compensation you deserve and need to recover. You can call or text us at 602-345-1818 or fill out our online form here.
Note that the information in this blog is for general information only. It is not intended to be taken as legal advice. For specific information regarding your legal situation, we recommend that you call our injury lawyers today.
We are located in Arizona and New Mexico. We serve car accident clients in Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria, Maricopa, and the entire state of Arizona. We also serve clients in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Roswell, Farmington, Los Alamos, Las Cruces, and the entire state of New Mexico.