With a very active Atlantic hurricane season this year, the northeast, including Massachusetts, has seen its fair share of rain. Rain is a major cause of motor vehicle accidents, especially on the busy highways in Massachusetts, such as I-93, the Mass Pike and I-95. Every year the rain is blamed for thousands of car accidents and trucking accidents. A big issue in motor vehicle accidents that involve rainy weather is determining who was at fault for causing the accident. The reason fault is a major issue is because if you were found at fault for causing the accident, then you may not be able to recover compensation for injuries suffered in an accident.
How Rain Contributes to Motor Vehicle Accidents
We have all driven our vehicles in the rain. So, I’m sure we all understand how the rain contributes to accidents on the roadway and highways. Here are some of the most common ways rain contributes to accidents:
Rain Makes Roads Slippery
First of all, the rain causes the roadways to become slick and slippery. Even well paved roads and highways can become very slippery when it rains. The wet and slippery roads reduce tire traction and can cause cars and trucks to skid, slide or spin out while driving.
Hydroplaning is a Dangerous Risk When Driving in the Rain
Another major problem occurs when rain water collects on the roads, which can cause vehicles to hydroplane. This is where rain causes a layer of water to build up between the tires of a vehicle and the road causing a loss of traction that prevents the vehicle from responding to the driver’s control. Basically hydroplaning causes a vehicle to slide uncontrollably on the roadway. This causes an obvious danger to others on the road. Our office recently handled a personal injury claim from a motor vehicle accident where a driver whose car hydroplaned on rain water and crashed into our client’s car seriously injuring her. That other driver was deemed to have been driving at an unsafe speed for the weather conditions and was found to be responsible for causing the accident and our client’s injuries.
Rain Causes Decreased Visibility When Driving
The rain causes poor visibility when driving and is a major cause of accidents. The rain comes down directly onto the vehicles and their windshields and is also splashed up from the roads and off of other cars driving by. During rain storms the windshield of vehicles can become hazy and unclear. The windshield wipers usually help, but can sometimes cause the windshield to become blurred affecting visibility and safe driving. Additionally, in rain storms the inside of our windshields and windows become foggy, which also contributes to the poor and decreased visibility.
The Legal Issues Rain Causes in Personal Injury Cases Involving Auto Accidents
In every personal injury claim that stems from a motor vehicle accident the injured party must establish that the other driver was negligent. Negligence determines liability. If an injured party is successful in proving that the other driver was negligent, he or she should be able to recover financial compensation for injuries and losses suffered in the accident.
Accidents that occur in rain storms can be complex. Liability sometimes become an issue. In Massachusetts, a driver has a duty to exercise reasonable care in the operation of his or her vehicle. This is true no matter what the weather conditions are outside. If a driver hydroplanes during a rain storm into oncoming traffic and crashes into another car, that driver will most likely be deemed to have failed to drive in a safe manner for the weather condition. Most drivers in that type of situation, however, will blame the rain not themselves. But, legally speaking that driver will generally be found at fault for causing the accident barring any other factors.
Driving safely in the rain and all weather conditions is an important skill for drivers to practice. If you have been injured in an accident during a rain storm be sure to follow the Three Most Important Steps to Take After a Motor Vehicle Accident. Make sure you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Massachusetts to understand the injury claim process and protect your rights.
Have you Been Injured in an Auto Accident?
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in an accident in Massachusetts you most likely have many questions. Feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online. You should take the time to speak with our legal team so we can evaluate your case for free. It just might be the best decision you make.