Man driving his car in the rain

Inclement weather conditions, such as rain, snow, ice, or fog, can significantly increase the risk of car accidents on New York roads. When drivers fail to adjust their driving behavior to accommodate these hazardous conditions, accidents can occur, resulting in serious injuries and property damage. Whatever the challenges the weather may pose, we will not allow a negligent driver to be relieved of responsibility for causing your accident. If you’ve been involved in a car accident due to inclement weather, it’s essential to understand your rights and legal options. 

Causes of Weather-Related Car Accidents

Weather-related car accidents can stem from a multitude of factors, each contributing to the heightened risk on New York and Hempstead roadways:

  • Reduced Visibility: Fog, heavy rain, or blinding snowfall drastically reduce visibility, turning the road ahead into an indistinct blur. In such conditions, drivers struggle to discern other vehicles, pedestrians, or potential road hazards until they are dangerously close.
  • Fog: Dense fog blankets the road, obscuring signs, lane markings, and other vehicles. Drivers may find themselves navigating through a ghostly landscape, relying solely on the dim glow of their headlights to guide them through the mist.
  • Reduced Traction: Wet or icy roads rob tires of their grip, turning vehicles into precarious projectiles sliding across the asphalt. With diminished traction, drivers struggle to maintain control, leading to an increased risk of skidding, hydroplaning, or outright losing control of their vehicle.
  • Poor Road Conditions: Accumulations of snow and ice transform the road into a perilous obstacle course, challenging even the most experienced drivers. Snow drifts pile up, obscuring lane markers and exit ramps, while patches of black ice lurk beneath the surface, waiting to catch unsuspecting motorists off guard.
  • Reduced Stopping Distance: As the roads become slick with rain, snow, or ice, the distance required to bring a vehicle to a stop increases dramatically. In these hazardous conditions, drivers must maintain a vigilant awareness of their surroundings and be prepared to react quickly to avoid rear-end collisions and other accidents.
  • Heavy Rain: Sheets of rain cascade down, creating a veil of water that distorts perception and obscures objects in the distance. Puddles form, hiding potholes and other hazards beneath their deceptively calm surface.
  • Snowfall: Snowflakes descend from the sky, accumulating on windshields and coating the road with a layer of white. As the snow piles up, visibility diminishes, and the world outside becomes a blur of swirling flakes.
  • Wet Roads: Rainwater pools on the surface of the road, creating a slippery film that compromises tire grip and increases the likelihood of hydroplaning- a terrifying phenomenon where the tires lose contact with the road surface and glide uncontrollably across the water.
  • Icy Roads: Sub-zero temperatures transform rainwater into a treacherous layer of ice, turning the road into a frozen hazard. Even the slightest tap on the brakes can send a vehicle careening out of control, its tires unable to find purchase on the slick surface.
  • Snow Accumulation: Snowflakes blanket the road, accumulating in drifts and covering the asphalt with a treacherous layer of white. As vehicles traverse the snowy terrain, they risk sliding off course or becoming stranded in the deep drifts.
  • Black Ice: Invisible to the naked eye, black ice lurks beneath the surface, waiting to ensnare unsuspecting drivers. Its transparent sheen disguises its presence, causing vehicles to lose traction and spin out of control with little warning.
  • Delayed Response: With reduced traction and visibility, drivers may find themselves reacting more slowly to hazards on the road. A sudden brake or swerve may be necessary to avoid a collision, but in these conditions, every second counts.
  • Increased Risk of Rear-End Collisions: In congested traffic or adverse weather conditions, the risk of rear-end collisions skyrockets. Reduced stopping distances and delayed reactions can lead to fender-benders and pile-ups, leaving a trail of damaged vehicles and injured occupants in their wake.

Determining Liability

In car accidents caused by inclement weather, determining liability can be challenging. While adverse weather conditions contribute to accidents, drivers still have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and exercise reasonable care to prevent collisions. Negligent actions that may contribute to weather-related accidents include:

  • Speeding: Driving too fast for road conditions can increase the risk of losing control of the vehicle or being unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. A driver may be traveling within the posted speed limit, but still violate Vehicle & Traffic Law 1180 (a) “Speed Not Reasonable and Prudent.”
  • Following Too Closely: Tailgating reduces reaction time and increases the likelihood of rear-end collisions, especially in adverse weather conditions. Vehicle & Traffic Law 1129 (a) provides that a driver must pay due regard to the roadway conditions in maintaining a safe following distance.
  • Failure to Adjust Driving Behavior: Failing to adjust driving speed, maintaining a safe following distance, or using headlights in low-visibility conditions can contribute to accidents. The common law, or body of case-law developed by courts over the years, requires a driver to use due care in light of the weather conditions prevailing.
  • Negligent Vehicle Maintenance: Vehicles must be properly maintained to ensure safe operation in all weather conditions. Neglecting to maintain brakes, tires, or windshield wipers can increase the risk of accidents. While sudden mechanical failure can be a defense, lack of maintenance will overcome it. We have the forensic investigators to foreclose such defenses. 

Your Legal Rights

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Hempstead due to inclement weather, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical Expenses: Including hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, and ongoing medical treatment related to your injuries.
  • Lost Wages: Compensation for time missed from work due to your injuries and recovery process.
  • Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages for physical pain, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life resulting from the accident.

How We Can Help

Whatever the contributing factor, New York laws provide that you must use due caution in light of the weather conditions then and there existing. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Hempstead, it’s essential to understand your rights and potential legal remedies. The expertise of a skilled and experienced attorney can make all the difference. We can thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident, gather evidence to establish liability, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to seek fair compensation for your injuries and losses. If necessary, we can take your case to trial to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the justice you deserve. At the Law Offices of Civardi & Obiol PC, our qualified New York personal injury attorneys will assist you every step of the way. We will fight for your rights. To learn more or schedule a free consultation, contact us today!