Studies show that Americans are involved in about six million car crashes per year. In almost a quarter of these wrecks, the weather is at least a contributing factor. In a personal injury practice like ours, our clients frequently ask us an important question: what effect are the weather conditions going to have on my case? Except in rare cases, the weather is not going to affect your case much, if at all.
Weather Can Make Driving Hard.
Rain makes the roads slick, which makes it more difficult to brake. Clouds, fog, and rain can decrease visibility, even in the middle of the day. Despite these challenges in most cases, bad weather conditions do not excuse a defendant’s poor driving.
FLORIDA LAW DOES NOT SIMPLY MANDATE THAT DRIVERS FOLLOW THE SPEED LIMIT—RATHER, ACCORDING TO § 316.183, F.S., DRIVERS MUST DRIVE AT A SPEED THAT IS “REASONABLE AND PRUDENT UNDER THE CONDITIONS” OF THE ROAD.
The same law goes on to explicitly say that motorists must drive at an appropriately reduced speed during bad weather.
As you can see, the law will not let a careless driver off the hook simply because the weather was bad at the time of the crash. Rather, the law requires drivers to take the bad weather into account and to drive more carefully in the face of those hazards.
Questions You and Your Attorney Will Ask:
- was the driver driving too fast for the road conditions, even if they were technically driving within the speed limit?
- Did the driver brake in time to stop, even considering the slick road? Bad weather does not suspend the traditional rules of the road. The focus is still whether the driver drove in a reasonably safe manner, taking into account the changing road conditions.
In other words, the presence of bad weather does not normally decrease or affect the amount of compensation you are entitled to after a wreck for which you are not at fault.
In Very Rare Cases, A Driver Who Is Injured as A Result Of Weather-Related Road Conditions May Have A Claim Against A Government Agency Or Contractor Who Is Responsible For Maintaining Those Roads.
For instance, the Florida Department of Transportation often enters into contracts with private companies to maintain the roads of the state in a safe condition and to stage warning signs of potential hazards for motorists. If a contractor fails to perform these duties under the contract—i.e., fails to warn motorists of road hazards that might not be obvious, or fails to respond to an emergency road condition—they could be liable for any injuries that are caused by that failure to warn or failure to respond.
Weather conditions can make driving more difficult. However, motorists have to recognize that difficulty and drive more carefully to compensate for the added danger. Regardless of whether your wreck occurred during a thunderstorm or on a sunny day, you should hire an experienced lawyer who considers all of the circumstances of your case.
The Florida Bar allows very few people to advertise themselves as “experts” in a particular area of law. However, the Bar does allow lawyers who have extensive experience in personal injury and tort cases to become specialists in civil trial. Only one percent of Florida lawyers have this certification. Two out of three of the lawyers on staff at Zarzaur Law, P.A. are Board Certified in Civil Trial.
So, when potential clients ask us about whether or when to hire a lawyer after an accident, we remind them that only a Board Certified civil trial lawyer is a specialist in this area of the law. Since all injury lawyers have the same “no fee no cost unless you win” payout structure, there is no reason to hire someone who is not a specialist.
Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.