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Bad weather conditions and negligence: a recipe for car accidents

For modern fighter pilots in combat, among their training and experience are two axioms: that sometimes just getting back to base alive can be counted as a victory of sorts, and the other being that most of those who get shot down never see what hit them. In a way, driving a car can be much the same. There are times when simply reaching your destination is something to feel grateful for, because when lighting or weather conditions become adverse it can be difficult if not impossible to see what's coming at you.

As an example, consider a recent fatal collision in West Virginia on State Route 2 in Mason County. According to witnesses, apparently including the drivers of both vehicles, a car that pulled onto the highway at an intersection during foggy weather never saw the vehicle that was bearing down on it until the collision occurred, killing the passenger of the vehicle entering the highway.

When we consider how negligence works in a car accident, a central tenet is that a driver owes a duty of care to other drivers (and to pedestrians as well) to drive his or her vehicle in a way that is reasonable given the circumstances then existing. In conditions of poor visibility, this can have a direct effect on what driving behaviors can be considered to be "reasonable." Even if you have trouble seeing other cars does not relieve you of the responsibility to others; in this instance, the driver of the car that was entering the highway was cited by police for failing to yield the right of way, something that could have a bearing on a negligence-based personal injury case if one emerges later on.

Car accident cases can turn on a number of fact-based factors, including statutory violations, the weather, and even the relative negligence of both drivers. It is part of the role of a personal injury attorney to investigate the facts underlying any vehicular accident to identify the existence of such contributing causes as well as any mitigating factors when preparing a client's case for settlement negotiations or trial, and experience with car accident cases can be very important in helping your attorney to prepare the best possible arguments on your behalf.

Source: WSAZ, "UPDATE: Name released in fatal Mason County crash," Dec. 8, 2015

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