Bad weather caused my car accident! What can I do?
If you are from Arizona, you know the bad weather that comes from the monsoon season. In the past 50 years, dust storms alone caused the third-highest weather-related fatalities. Not only is the debris causing lung damage, but it also provides lessened visibility for drivers throughout the state, leading to crashes.
Dust is not the only cause of a potential car accident due to weather conditions in Arizona, however. Monsoon season leads to flash floods, heavy rains, downed trees, and even hail. If you are involved in a car accident caused by weather conditions, talk to a Phoenix personal injury attorney at Hutzler Law, and you may receive compensation for any injury that resulted from the crash.
Car Accident Caused By Weather Conditions | Statistics
Car accidents happen for many reasons in Arizona, but the weather is one of the leading causes. According to statistics, over 22% of wrecks in the entire country come from weather concerns. That is nearly a quarter of all car accidents, equating to 1.2 million crashes yearly.
A car accident caused by dust is the leading weather-related concern in Arizona. Instances relating to over 45 injuries are in Arizona state history from these storms. Other large crashes include:
- June 1970: Multi-vehicle accident with 12 deaths
- April 1995: Four separate multi-vehicle incidents with 10 deaths and 20 injuries
- July 1964: Chain-reaction accident with eight deaths and 25 injuries
- May 1971: Multi-vehicle accident with seven deaths and 25 injuries
- March 1989: 37 vehicles in an accident with two deaths and 43 injuries
Bad Weather Types in Arizona
By now, you should understand that dust storms are one of the leading causes of car accidents caused by weather conditions. As mentioned, other weather events that come from monsoons include hail, heavy rain, wind, and more. Tornadoes also happen rarely in the state of Arizona.
Bad Weather Risks
When considering the types of bad weather that may cause accidents in Arizona, you should also know the specific risks involved. These dangers are the primary reasons accidents happen. They include:
- Low Visibility: Fog, rain, and dust storms lower a driver’s ability to see the road and other cars around him
- Loss of Control: If there is a flood, excessive rain, or dust build-up, a driver can lose traction on the road
- Loss of Traction: When there is a loss of traction, a driver can veer off the side of the road or propel forward into another vehicle
Hot Weather Risks
Extreme heat happens during the summer in Arizona. The hot air can lead to pop-up storms and even increased dust throughout the season. Tire blow-outs also commonly occur in the heat, and these instances sometimes lead to car accidents.
The air pressure inside of the tire will increase when the temperature outside increases. If too much air exists, it can pop, allowing you to swerve on any road or highway in the state. You must check your tires regularly during monsoon season to know if you need to let any air out.
After you are in an accident, the insurance company will review all documentation to determine if you are at fault. If you only have liability coverage, you will not receive claim money from the company. An attorney can help you file for personal injury compensation, especially if there was any indication that the other driver could have the fault. Questions you could receive to determine fault include:
- What speed did you drive at?
- How much distance was between you and the other vehicles?
- Was the weather unexpected, or were there warnings?
- Was there any way you could avoid the accident?
Sometimes, even if you are liable for the accident, you can claim an “act of God.” These events are typically only those that come from unexpected weather. Events such as these may include a sudden dust storm that arises from a distant tornado or severe storms on hot summer days. Be as honest as possible with the attorney to get the help you deserve for your injury.
Duty to Others
Even if a dust storm pops up or there is the potential for an accident caused by rain, Arizona law states you have a duty to protect yourself and others on the road. You can be negligent by disobeying road signs and speeding, for instance, when it rains heavily outside. Other negligent actions you can take if the weather is bad include:
- Defective windshield wipers
- Headlights not on
- Driving while under the influence
- Driving while distracted or tired
- Driving recklessly
Thankfully, if you drove with attention on the road, attorneys will fight for your compensation. Even if a distraction was present, you have a chance to receive the settlement you deserve. There are many factors concerning a car accident due to weather conditions that your attorney will discuss with you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I Rear-Ended Someone During a Dust Storm or Bad Weather?
An accident caused by dust storms is one of the most common causes of a wreck in Arizona. Unfortunately, you as the driver are at fault during an accident in which you rear-end someone. Contributing factors are possible, however, to help you negate this charge.
Talk to an attorney about if the vehicle in front of you had its taillights on. During a dust storm, you can often follow these lights to know if you are too close or in your lane. Also, discuss if you knew about the impending weather event.
How Can I Avoid an Accident Caused by a Dust Storm?
If possible, try not to go out if you receive a warning of a dust storm. If you are already away from home and in your car, pull onto the side of the road. Wait as long as it takes for the weather to pass. Do not turn on your hazard lights as this can confuse other drivers.
If there is nowhere to pull over, make sure you go at the same speed as other vehicles. Turn on your headlights if they are not automatically on, and press the button for your hazards. Make sure to honk your horn at regular intervals so that other vehicles know where you are.
Who is at Fault in a Car Accident Caused by Weather Conditions?
As mentioned throughout, most of the time, the driver is at fault during a bad weather accident. The driver has to know how to drive responsibly even in worse conditions. This responsibility is part of the duty discussed earlier.
Only in the case of an “act of God” could a driver not be at fault. An accident, for this reason, would have to entail the weather event moving the car. The driver would have to present the fact that there was no way to avoid the wreck.
What if a Flash Flood Caused Me to Crash?
A flash flood is one of the top causes of an accident caused by rain. These floods do not only occur when it rains, however, but they could come from a break in a dam in your city. In either case, there is virtually no warning for these events.
You could avoid fault if you were already on the road when it began to flood and could not turn around. Negligence occurs if you drive to a flooded road and continue going through it, causing an accident. You would also be at fault if you drove through a flooded road when your local government closed it down.
Can Hail Cause Car Accidents?
Hail may be one of the many threats of monsoon season in Arizona. A hailstorm, however, can still cause an accident, and unless you have no way to stop, you could be at fault. The ice pellets can damage your windshield, lowering the visibility of the traffic and road around you. It can also dent your hood, which could cause damage to your engine, leading to a car wreck.
How Can I Prevent a Car Accident caused by Weather Conditions?
In monsoon season in Arizona, it is better to remain careful and in control of the road. Following these practices can help you avoid collisions. To drive defensively and carefully, you can:
- Remain focused at all times
- Stay at least two car lengths behind the nearest vehicle in front of you
- Drive at the speed limit or below it during dangerous weather
- Always be aware of messages from emergency services and of the current road conditions
File a Personal Injury Claim
If you do get into a car accident caused by weather conditions, the Phoenix car accident attorneys Hutzler Law can help. Even if you think you are at fault, the attorneys will review the details and determine if you can receive compensation for a personal injury. You deserve to feel better and to prepare yourself for the next storm.