Pennsylvania is known for having severe winter weather, often resulting in treacherous road conditions for motorists. Winter weather can affect vehicle performance and driver visibility, sometimes resulting in serious accidents. When these accidents are the result of driver carelessness or negligence, victims may be able to recover by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the person or party responsible for your injuries. Proving negligence in a car accident case that occurs in bad weather can be a complicated issue, so it is advisable for those considering bringing a personal injury claim to consult with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
In order to hold someone legally responsible for losses caused by an accident, it is necessary to establish that he or she was acting negligently in some way. Generally speaking, a driver has a duty to maintain control of his or her vehicle at all times, and the failure to do so indicates negligence in and of itself. Sometimes, however, outside forces such as high winds or falling debris causes a vehicle to lose control completely independent of any driver error. In poor weather, many drivers (or their insurance companies) will try and deny responsibility for an automobile accident, arguing that the accident occurred simply due to poor weather. It is important to note, however, that drivers are required to use an appropriate level of care considering the weather in which they are driving. For example, although doing the speed limit is completely legal, it may not be reasonable in a heavy snow storm. Other ways in which a driver may negligently cause an accident in bad weather include:
- Failure to use windshield wipers
- Failure to use headlights
- Improper vehicle maintenance
- Driving on worn tires
- Taking turns too quickly
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Driving while fatigued
These are just some of the ways in which a driver may negligently cause an accident in poor weather, and an attorney can help you determine whether and against whom you may have a claim. In addition to other drivers, vehicle and vehicle equipment manufacturers can be held responsible if a manufacture or design defect results in an accident.