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Who Might Be Liable for an Accident During Heavy Rainfall?

Posted on behalf of Anderson Cummings on May 04, 2022 in Auto Accidents

driving in the rain Heavy rainfall increases the likelihood of auto accidents, especially when people drive in a negligent manner. If you were injured in a crash during an inclement weather event, you may be eligible for compensation.

Call our Fort Worth car crash lawyers today to discuss your claim and learn how we may be able to help you. The initial consultation to discuss your crash is free. There are no upfront fees for our services.

Below, we discuss the dangers of driving during heavy rainfall and how liability for these crashes may be determined.

How Does Rainfall Increase the Chances of an Accident?

Even when there is a light, but constant, drizzle, driving may be significantly more dangerous. This is due to a number of factors, including the slickness of the road and decreased visibility.

Wet roads decrease reaction times. A vehicle’s tires may have a difficult time gaining traction, especially if the tire treads are worn or the tires are old. During a heavy downpour, there is also the risk of flooding or the pooling of water on the road, which can lead to vehicles hydroplaning.  

The mist from the water getting kicked up from the ground or just the rain itself can make it difficult for drivers to see out of their windshields. Sometimes windshield wipers may have a hard time keeping up with extremely heavy rain. Drivers’ peripheral vision is also affected, and light may be scattered or bouncing off headlights and brake lights from other vehicles, which might make it challenging to focus on the road or drive defensively.

How is Liability for a Rainfall Accident Determined?

Duty of care still applies during rainfall. When the roads are wet and rain is making it tricky to see out of a vehicle’s windshield or mirrors, drivers are still expected to act in a reasonable manner to avoid a collision. Therefore, liability will most likely fall on the person who drove in a careless manner. Examples of careless driving could include:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Using a cellphone
  • Weaving through traffic
  • Driving under the influence  
  • And more

There are some additional factors to consider when assessing liability for an accident during rainfall, including the following:

Were Headlights in Use?

Drivers should always turn their vehicle’s headlights on when driving in the rain, even if it is still daytime.

In  Texas, drivers are legally obligated to turn their headlights on at night and when visibility is less than 1,000 feet, meaning any time it rains.

If a driver causes a crash due to his or her failure to turn on a vehicle’s headlights during rainfall, that person may be held financially liable for your damages.

Were Hazard Lights in Use?

Texas law allows drivers to use their hazard lights in bad weather, including heavy rainfall. If another driver was using his or her hazard lights and was rear-ended, the other driver may be at fault. It could be argued the rear driver had fair warning because he or she should have seen the flashing lights.

However, if the flashing lights were distracting or confusing to another driver, he or she may argue you are at least partially to blame for a crash.

You should strongly consider speaking to an attorney to help you prove liability in a situation like this because the insurance company is likely going to try and fight back against your claim by arguing that the conditions did not justify the use of hazard lights.

Was There an Issue with the Roadway?

If poor roadway maintenance caused a crash during heavy rainfall, a government municipality may be liable for your damages.

For example, a local government could be liable if a pothole on a roadway that fills up with rainwater causes a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle when driving over it.

Was There an Issue with the Vehicles Involved in the Crash?

Vehicle owners have an obligation to keep their vehicles in proper working order and in road safe condition. This means that a driver whose vehicle had worn tires could be held liable for your damages if it can be proven the tires contributed to the crash.

Do You Know What to do After a Crash? Call Us Today

If you were involved in a crash during rainy weather because someone else acted negligently, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages.

Our attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience and are prepared to help you file a claim and build a strong case for compensation.

We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim and we do not charge you anything unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.

Call (817) 920-9000 to learn more.