Can I Blame Bad Weather for My Car Accident in Florida?
Adverse weather conditions are not uncommon in Florida, even though its nickname is “the Sunshine State.” Unfortunately, bad weather is one of the most common causes of car accidents in Florida.
While you cannot file a lawsuit against “bad weather” or God, many drivers wonder whether they can blame inclement weather conditions for a car crash in order to reduce or avoid their liability for the accident.
If you were involved in a crash caused by bad weather, it is vital to discuss your case with a Lakeland car accident lawyer to help you determine liability and explain how weather conditions can affect your injury claim.
Dangerous weather conditions that contribute to car crashes
The following types of bad weather conditions can cause and contribute to car accidents in Florida:
- High winds
- Rain and hail
- Winter conditions such as snow, ice, and sleet
- Wet pavement
- Slippery roads
Can you avoid liability for a weather-related car accident in Florida?
Section 316.185, Florida Statutes, specifically states that a driver must reduce speed in order to adjust to “weather or other roadway conditions.” It means that drivers in Florida must use a higher degree of care when operating a motor vehicle in inclement weather.
It also means that motorists are held to a higher level of responsibility if a car accident occurs. Example. You are driving below the posted speed limit on an icy roadway when you crash into another vehicle. Even though you have not exceeded the speed limit or violated any other traffic laws, you may still be liable for the accident if you did not adjust your speed to bad weather conditions.
When there is snow, ice, sleet, rain, fog, or any other adverse weather conditions, drivers have a duty to reduce their speed and keep a safe following distance even more than they normally do.
The only way to avoid liability for a weather-related car accident is if you can prove that you were driving carefully and responsibly, considering the weather conditions.
Can I blame weather conditions for the accident?
The adverse weather conditions at the time of your collision will be documented on the police report, which may give you a chance to argue that bad weather was a contributing factor in your crash.
However, if you did not exercise due care when operating a vehicle in inclement weather, you cannot blame weather conditions for your accident. Also, keep in mind that Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means you can seek compensation for your damages through your own auto insurance policy regardless of fault.
A driver’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage would only cover your losses and damages up to policy limits, which is usually $10,000. When you exhaust your PIP coverage, you may be able to recover additional damages through the at-fault party’s insurance.
Thus, while you cannot blame the weather for your auto accident, you may still be entitled to compensation through your auto insurance coverage. Keep in mind that motorists have a duty to exercise due care to avoid weather-related crashes, which means you may be held liable for the accident.
Speak with our attorney at The Turnbull Firm to help you establish fault in your weather-related car accident in Florida. Call 863-324-3500 to receive a consultation.