Weather-Related Traffic Accidents
Weather conditions can factor into car accidents in a variety of different ways. From hurricane conditions to sun glare, if you have been injured in a collision in which the weather was a factor, you may be entitled to compensation, and you should speak with a Fort Lauderdale bad weather accident attorney about your legal rights.
Can You File an Insurance Claim for a Weather-Related Accident?
In Florida, there are two possible ways to file an insurance claim for a weather-related car accident. The first possibility is to file a no-fault claim under your personal injury protection (PIP) policy. PIP covers all car accidents regardless of the factors involved, and standard policies provide coverage for up to $10,000 in medical expenses and lost income (this is the minimum amount of coverage required under Florida law).
The second possibility is to file a fault-based claim under the other driver’s bodily injury liability (BIL) policy (or under your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) policy if the other driver was uninsured). If you have been seriously injured, then you are eligible to file a fault-based claim outside of PIP. In weather-related accident cases, examples of fault that can support BIL and UIM insurance claims include:
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Failing to maintain a vehicle in safe operating condition
- Failing to yield
- Running a red light or stop sign
What if Driver Negligence Wasn’t a Factor?
If driver negligence wasn’t a factor and your losses exceed your PIP coverage (as will often be the case), then your attorney will need to evaluate other possible sources of financial compensation. For example, depending on the circumstances involved, you may be entitled to financial compensation for:
- A negligent repair – If you (or the other driver) lost control because of negligent maintenance work or a faulty repair, then the shop that performed the work may be liable for your injuries.
- A vehicle defect – If you (or the other driver) lost control because of a vehicle defect, then the manufacturer or dealership may be liable. The same is true if your injuries resulted from a vehicle defect (i.e. a faulty airbag).
- An issue with the road – Issues with the road can lead to accidents in bad weather as well. This includes (but is not limited to) issues such as potholes, sinkholes, sharp curves, roadway debris, and visual obstructions.
What if the Insurance Companies Say I Wasn’t Being Careful Enough?
If the insurance companies say you weren’t being careful enough given the weather conditions, (i) they may be wrong; and, (ii) even if they are right, you may still be entitled to financial compensation. “Comparative fault” is a complicated issue, and you will want to speak with an attorney before you make any decisions about settling with the insurance companies.