Determining Liability for Accidents During Heavy Rainfall
Inclement weather can significantly increase the risk of an accident and determining liability for these collisions may be more complicated due to several factors.
Our auto accident attorneys in Brunswick are prepared to discuss the facts of your claim to help determine liability and help pursue the compensation you need for your damages. The consultation is free, and we do not charge you any upfront fees while we work on your claim.
Below, we discuss some of the factors that may come into play when determining liability for an accident that occurs during heavy rainfall.
How Drivers May Be Held Liable
While drivers cannot control the weather, they still have a duty of care to others. This means they are required to take the necessary precautions to help prevent injuring other people on the roadways during heavy rainfall.
Drivers who fail to take the required safety measures may be held liable for damages if an accident occurs.
Driving Without Headlights On
In Georgia, it is required by law that drivers turn their vehicle’s headlights on when it is raining, even if it is during the day. The reason for the law is because heavy rainfall may severely impact a driver’s visibility. Having your headlights on not only helps increase visibility for the driver, but it also helps other drivers see your vehicle.
In addition to being liable for damages in an accident, drivers who fail to turn on their headlights during heavy rainfall may also face hefty fines and points on their licenses.
Driving With Hazard Lights On
Unlike most states, Georgia does not outlaw the use of hazard lights while a vehicle is in motion. However, law enforcement officials strongly caution drivers against enabling their hazard lights while driving in heavy rainfall or other inclement weather events.
Officials cite reduced visibility and several other reasons for warning against hazard lights, including:
- Making other drivers think you are stopped or stalled on the roadway, creating confusion.
- Making it difficult for other drivers to determine whether a vehicle is braking.
- Making the ability to use turn signals impossible.
Liability for an accident in which a driver was using his or her hazard lights during heavy rainfall may be complicated and could involve a variety of other factors, so you should strongly consider speaking to an attorney who may better understand your legal options.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Drivers are responsible for keeping their vehicles in proper working condition, which usually requires routine maintenance, including tire upkeep.
When the treads on a vehicle’s tires are heavily worn, there is a greater chance for a vehicle to hydroplane during heavy rainfall, which is when a layer of water gets between the tire on a vehicle and the surface of the road, making steering, braking and other driving inputs useless.
Worn tires may also cause a vehicle to hydrodynamically drag, which is when one side of a vehicle’s tires move slower than those on the other side.
At the forefront of duty of care to other drivers is the responsibility to drive in a manner that does not endanger the lives of others on the roadway. Drivers who knowingly do so may not only be held liable for potential injuries, property damage and death but may also face serious penalties depending on their behavior.
Georgia law defines reckless driving as driving with a vehicle in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property. Examples of reckless driving include:
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely
- Weaving through traffic
- Driving under the influence
- And more
Who Else May Be Liable for My Damages?
Although negligent drivers are generally the liable party in a car accident, there may be other parties who bear liability, including:
- Government municipalities for poor roadway maintenance
- Construction site operators and managers for improperly contained equipment
Call An Experienced Attorney Today
If you were involved in an accident during a heavy downpour, you may be eligible for compensation for your damages. However, you first need to establish who is liable for those damages.
Our experienced attorneys understand what it takes to investigate a claim to determine liability and we have the resources to do it.
We offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your claim to see what legal options may be available to you.
There are no fees while we work on your case, and you only pay us if we win.