While Florida drivers generally do not need to contend with snow or sleet on the roadways, they cannot entirely avoid inclement weather. They often contend with rain, fog, and other conditions that can reduce visibility and the ability to control a vehicle, which often results in a collision. Weather-related accidents can cause extensive harm that is costly to treat, and people contending with such injuries may feel uncertain regarding their right to pursue damages. Simply because an accident occurred during unpleasant weather does not mean that no one is liable, however, and people who drive recklessly in poor conditions can be held accountable for the harm that ensues. If you were hurt in a weather-related accident, the skilled Boca Raton car accident lawyers at The Grife Law Firm can assess your potential claims and help you seek a favorable result.Driver Duties in Poor Weather
While the laws in Florida do not specifically address driving in inclement weather, drivers do have a duty under Florida Statute 316.183 to drive at a speed that is prudent and reasonable under the conditions, accounting for any potential or actual hazards that exist. Drivers also must control their speed as is necessary to demonstrate due care. In other words, drivers not only must adhere to the posted speed limits but also must drive at a speed that is sensible in consideration of factors like rain, fog, or flooding. People who fail to drive at safe speeds during bad weather often lose control of their cars due to slippery roadways, which can cause or contribute to collisions. They may suffer from reduced visibility as well, and they may not be able to see an obstacle in time to avoid a crash.Pursuing Damages Following a Weather-Related Accident
Generally, a person injured in a car accident who is seeking damages via a civil lawsuit must demonstrate that the defendant was negligent. This requires proof of a duty owed by the defendant, a breach of the duty, and harm proximately caused by the breach. In most cases, the duty owed is the duty to act as a reasonable person would act under the circumstances. If a plaintiff can prove, therefore, that a defendant was speeding or otherwise driving recklessly in bad weather, this may constitute a breach of the obligation to act with due care.
Proving causation in a case arising out of a weather-related accident, though, may be more challenging. The defendant may argue that the weather alone caused the accident, and the burden will be on the plaintiff to prove that a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that the defendant’s acts directly led to the plaintiff’s harm. Such evidence may include surveillance photographs or videos, eyewitness reports, weather reports, and expert testimony.
Additionally, a defendant may attempt to avoid liability by placing blame on a plaintiff for an accident and the harm caused by the accident. Under Florida Statute 768.81(2), though, even a plaintiff who was partially at fault for an accident can still recover damages. Any compensation awarded to an at-fault plaintiff will merely be reduced in proportion to the fault attributed to him or her. Damages that a plaintiff may recover include the cost of past and future medical treatment, compensation for lost earnings, and out-of-pocket costs. In addition to economic damages, a plaintiff may recover compensation for the pain, mental and emotional trauma, and suffering caused by the crash.Speak to a Knowledgeable Boca Raton Attorney About Your Car Accident
Even in poor weather conditions, crashes are often avoidable if people drive safely. If you suffered injuries due to a weather-related accident, you should meet with an attorney to assess whether you may be able to seek compensation. The knowledgeable car accident lawyers at The Grife Law Firm are proficient at helping people injured in collisions in the pursuit of damages. We often assist people in car accident lawsuits in Boca Raton, as well as Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Miami. You can reach us via our online form or by calling 855-998-0770 to schedule a meeting regarding your accident.