What Are Your Rights in Accidents Caused by Bad Weather?
What's In This Article
Insurance companies like to avoid covering accidents if they can. It saves them time and money while covering hundreds of thousands of drivers. They want to earn money covering you. They don’t want to spend money. For this reason, insurance companies have exceptions and exclusions written into their policies. Simply put, they’re excuses to not have to cover you. One of those exclusions is an “Act of God.” Sometimes, these instances involve accidents caused my bad weather.
What Is An Act of God?
The term “Act of God” refers to natural forces that uncontrollably wreak havoc. Extreme weather events usually fall into the Act of God category. Examples of extreme weather include hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards. Any naturally-occurring event that humans can’t control is an Act of God.
And while this isn’t wrong, insurance companies sometimes use this for the wrong purposes. They’ll try to tell you that your coverage doesn’t cover an Act of God. Simply put, they’re trying to dodge liability.
But they can only get away with this if you allow them to. You see, it’s a Catch-22. Most of the time, motorists don’t even know that they can fight back. So, they accept the insurance company’s verdict without a fight. But you don’t have to do that!
In this article, the Lawsuit Info Center is going to offer you some guidance. We’ll discuss how to get an Act of God-type accident covered. You can do it, even if it means fighting your insurance company. Why? Because weather-related car accidents can result in serious injuries and even death. The rights of victims must be taken seriously no matter the cause of the wreck. So, keep reading if you or someone you love was involved in a weather-related accident.
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An Act of God Doesn’t Cause an Accident
We’ve covered what constitutes an Act of God. But it’s important to know that Acts of God don’t usually cause car accidents. While it’s possible, 99% of accidents are caused by the driver. Whoever caused the accident is responsible for it. The Act of God is what makes it worse. So, determining who was at-fault is the key to getting the accident covered by insurance. Finding fault proves that an Act of God did not cause the accident.
Determining fault is the most important aspect of any car accident settlement. But when your wreck involves the weather, fault isn’t always clear. Slick roads, foggy horizons, and limited visibility make for hazardous conditions. But, once again, the weather itself doesn’t usually cause the accident. However, the weather must be respected as a serious threat to your safety.
When weather gets dangerous, drivers should pull over and wait for the storm to pass. When exactly should you pull over? That’s your call to make. Use discretion, and remember that you’re better safe than sorry. If you’re having a hard time seeing, you should pull over.
Are Weather Related Accidents at Fault?
It’s usually hard to tell if the weather caused the accident or if one of the drivers is responsible. That’s why you need to immediately call 9-1-1. You could be severely injured. You might instantly feel pain, or it could kick in hours or days later. A physical assessment at the scene of the accident is very important. It establishes a trail of evidence, beginning at the moment of the accident.
Plus, calling 9-1-1 will kill two birds with one stone. Both the police and medical responders will come. The police will fill out an incident report. You’ll need that report for the claim you’ll file later on. And once you’ve had a physical exam, you’ll know if you’re okay. Ultimately, you’ll take the paperwork to your primary care doctor. They will give you a more thorough exam.
Of course, if you’re seriously injured, you’ll be taken to the hospital. But if your injuries are minor, it will be up to you where you go. All of this will further help determine what your injuries are. It also continues the trail of evidence. That trail undoubtedly shows that your injuries are from the accident. Neither the insurance company nor the other driver will be able to tell you otherwise.
Liability For Motorists
Determining a motorist’s rights matter in weather-related accidents. This involves the cause of the wreck. That’s why it’s so important to call the police and get their incident report. Rain, fog, ice, and snow are all capable of causing accidents. But so are acts of negligence for which the driver is responsible. Small acts of negligence aggravated by the weather must be considered. The driver must be held responsible for their fault. That’s still true if the weather was also partially at-fault. The weather can turn a minor accident into a life-altering wreck.
For example, a fender bender can total a car if roads are slick and there’s no time to slow down. Sending a text while navigating a storm increases the risk of an accident. Drunk driving is yet another example.
The most important step in a car accident settlement is proof of who was in the wrong. Proof establishes responsibility. Perhaps the vehicle slid across black ice and slammed into another driver. Was it the weather’s fault? Or was the driver going too fast? The black ice certainly made it worse. But that doesn’t mean that it caused the accident.
We highly recommend taking photos at the scene of the accident. This will help prove who was at fault. It will give you a basis for your claim. We also recommend working with an attorney to find proof of the other driver being at fault.
File Your Claim
If you’ve been in a weather-related car accident, you’ll need to file a claim. You’ll want to file your claim as soon as you can. It’s preferable if you have the reports/documentation from the police and doctor. But it’s more important to report the accident in a timely manner. You can always update your claim with those documents. With your insurance card on hand, call your insurance company.
When you file your report, describe how the accident happened. Discuss what you did and what the other driver did. Include weather if it relates to your accident. But add this as a detail. If you start off with, “Well, it was raining, and it was really hard to see,” you’ll be in trouble. That makes it easy for your insurance company to say, “This accident was caused by an Act of God. Your policy doesn’t cover Acts of God.”
But if a driver caused the accident while driving in the rain, then they are at-fault. The at-fault driver is at least partially responsible. But they won’t be able to entirely blame it on the weather.
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Getting Help After Accidents Caused By Bad Weather
You should always strive to drive safely. But take extra caution during stormy conditions. Don’t allow your insurance company to declare your accident as an Act of God. Instead, investigate every angle of the accident to find fault. The other driver should be held responsible for their negligence.
The Lawsuit Info Center is here to help. A personal injury attorney can be invaluable when handling a weather-related crash. While weather itself is an Act of God, accidents that take place during a storm are not Acts of God. They are simply aggravated by the weather. Don’t let your car insurance company tell you otherwise!
If you need help getting started, go to our website and click “Find an Attorney” at the top of the screen. You’ll answer a few questions. Then, within minutes, a local attorney who specializes in auto accidents will call you. We’ll help you get the justice you deserve for you, and for your loved ones.