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Who’s Responsible for a Car Accident If It’s Raining?

Los Angeles has some of the most congested and heavily-traveled roads in the country. Under normal conditions, traffic in and around the city can be quite dangerous. When it rains, things can get much worse. Drivers, unfamiliar with how to drive safely in wet and rainy conditions, often panic and get into car accidents.

A Driver’s Duty of Care When It’s Raining

Who is responsible for a crash when it’s raining out? While rain can contribute to an accident, it’s ultimately the drivers who are responsible for their conduct behind the wheel. The duty to drive safely doesn’t vanish simply because it’s raining or the road conditions are slippery.

As a driver, you have a legal duty to exercise caution and care behind the wheel. Specifically, you must act the same way that a reasonably careful person would in the same or similar situation. In other words, it’s your job to make sure that you obey traffic laws, remain alert, and navigate your vehicle in a way that doesn’t pose a threat to others on the road.

When it’s raining out, you actually assume an even greater responsibility to drive safely. Things like speeding, changing lanes abruptly, or diverting your attention from the road become even more dangerous when the roads are wet.

Don’t Let Other Drivers Blame the Rain

Never let other drivers wiggle out of their responsibility for an accident or your injuries. If it’s raining, an at-fault driver may try to blame slick road conditions and/or visibility for the crash. Again, it’s important to remember that rain does not reduce a driver’s obligation to drive safely. At the same time, the rain will not limit or reduce a negligent driver’s responsibility for the crash.

If you’re injured because of someone else’s negligent conduct, you have the right to demand compensation. Make sure that they are held fully accountable for any harm you’ve suffered. Don’t let them blame the rain for the results of their negligent actions.

After the accident, make sure that you:

  • Call the police to report the crash
  • Submit an accident report to the DMV
  • Exchange insurance information, and
  • Get medical attention.

Proceed as if the crash had occurred under perfect weather conditions. Rain can’t be liable for your injuries. Another driver can.

Should You Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer?

After a serious accident, you may want to contact a personal injury lawyer. You will likely have to deal with the at-fault party’s insurance company. The insurance  company has one goal: to pay as little as possible. An accident attorney knows how to deal them to make sure you get fairly compensated.

How Does Rain Contribute to Car Accidents?

When it rains, two primary factors contribute to car accidents.

The first is visibility. Rain can make it difficult to see the road and traffic around you. When you can’t see, you’re more likely to collide with something – including other vehicles, pedestrians, or property. If you’re unable to see, you cannot drive safely and exercise the standard of care that’s required by California law.

The second is slick road conditions. Even light rain can make road surfaces wet and slippery. As a result, it can take longer for your car to come to a complete stop. Other times, the slick road surfaces can cause your vehicle to hydroplane. When you hydroplane, you actually lose contact with the road surface and lose control of the vehicle. Hydroplaning is a leading cause of car accidents in rainy or wet conditions.

How Is Fault Determined When It’s Raining?

A thorough investigation of your accident will uncover the underlying cause(s) of the crash. Determining the cause will help to establish liability and fault. This is the same process that’s used to determine fault in accidents that happen under the best weather conditions.

Hydroplaning: The driver who hydroplanes will often be considered to be at fault for an accident. This is because hydroplaning typically only occurs when drivers are going too fast for the current weather conditions. Driving faster than is safe is negligent.

Rear-End: Many rain-soaked accidents involve situations where one driver rear-ends the other. Let’s say you’re driving slam on your brakes to avoid hitting a pedestrian that was hard to see in the rainy conditions. The driver behind you also slams on his brakes but can’t avoid slamming into the rear end of your car. Under normal conditions, the car would have stopped in time. However, since the roads were slick, the car required additional stopping time. The driver behind you is probably at fault for this accident. Why? They didn’t use additional caution when driving in wet conditions. They should have kept a greater distance between the two vehicles.

Visibility: If you’re unable to see, you cannot drive safely and exercise the standard of care that’s required by California law. Breaching the duty of care you owe to others is considered negligence.

In California, more than one driver can be responsible for an accident. When it’s raining, it’s likely that multiple people will be negligent and contribute to a crash. Fault will be apportioned between liable parties to the degree they caused the accident. If a victim contributes to an accident, the amount of money they can recover will be reduced by their own degree of fault.

Have you been involved in a Los Angeles car accident? Contact the legal team at Glotzer & Leib, LLP for help with your personal injury case. Your first consultation is free, so do not hesitate to call for help today.

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