For many traffic accident victims who suffer serious injuries due to someone else’s negligence, bad weather may also be a contributing factor. At Miller & Tischler, P.C., our personal injury attorneys have experience with all types of weather-related accidents and are well-prepared to fight for your right to win just compensation. Because our personal injury law firm has a well-earned reputation for successful outcomes, we draw clients from throughout the state of Michigan. Our firm is known for our impressive skill sets, personalized service, and genuine compassion for those we serve. Our team is committed to obtaining the highest possible damages for those who have suffered serious harm in weather-related car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents.
If you were involved in a bad weather accident, you are far from alone. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, one in five road accidents is weather-related. Of course, a great many of these accidents would not have occurred at all if not for one driver’s lack of caution.
How Driver Negligence or Reckless Makes Bad Weather More Hazardous
As most of us are well aware, driving requires being alert at all times (and being especially cautious in bad weather). Still, we have all seen drivers recklessly speeding, tailgating, weaving, possibly while distracted or impaired, through blizzards or torrential rains.
If your injury resulted from the careless or reckless driving of another, our lawyers have the knowledge and skill to hold that person accountable through savvy negotiation or, if necessary, through strategic litigation.
Bad Weather in Michigan That Contributes to an Accident
While most motorists avoid driving in really bad weather, some get stuck on the road in sudden, unpredicted storms. Others may be forced to travel in bad weather due to personal or family emergencies or due to their jobs (i.e., first responders). No matter the reason, good drivers know enough to alter their driving in response to bad weather.
Bad weather conditions that contribute to traffic accidents in Michigan include:
- Snow — While the dangers of driving in a blizzard are well-documented, even a light coating of snow can make roads slippery for both vehicles and pedestrians.Snow soon covers road signs, traffic lights, and lane markers as well as windshields. Also, snow accumulation interferes not only with visibility but with traction. Therefore, steering and braking in the snow must be done judiciously.
- Ice — The perils of winter sleet and the hail that sometimes accompanies summer thunderstorms are not identical. Though both present a slippery road surface and affect driver vision, hail is more likely to be large enough to damage the roof or windshield of a vehicle. Even if the impact of hail on the car doesn’t incapacitate the driver, it is a tremendous distraction.
- Torrential rain and thunderstorms — Although we experience torrential rain less frequently, ordinary rain storms still present dangerous conditions (including the distractions of thunder and lightning). The danger obviously increases significantly when driving in torrential rain. Slick roads due to rain water may cause skidding, hydroplaning, or even floating of vehicles in areas that suddenly flood.
- Fog — Dense fog can be hazardous to drivers and pedestrians because it can make the road, other vehicles, people, curbs, potholes, lane markers and traffic difficult to see.
- Tornadoes and powerful winds — Whatever time of the year they come, powerful winds and tornadoes can contribute to road accidents by: lifting and hurling large objects (even vehicles), downing power lines, uprooting trees that block roads, destroying traffic signs and signals, and blinding drivers by blowing debris against their windshields.
In some cases, though the sun is shining, there are still dangers related to weather such as:
- “Black ice” (invisible leftover ice patches on the pavement).
- Wet leaves
- Puddles that are much deeper than they look; or
- Extreme sun glare.
Damages You Can Recover in a Bad Weather Accident
Having been through the process so many times, our superior personal injury attorneys have developed well-crafted strategies to fight for the compensation you deserve, such as economic damages including:
- Medical expenses and rehabilitation costs
- Personal care
- Work loss
- Household services
- Survivor’s benefits
and non-economic damages, otherwise known as pain and suffering damages.
The Complexity of Insurance Claims in Michigan
In Michigan, the state’s no-fault insurance law is the basis of insurance claims. There are two types of claims: first-party and third-party. This “first-party claim” will provide you with personal injury protection (PIP) benefits for economic losses and survivors’ benefits in the case of wrongful death. The “third-party” claim is a claim for automobile negligence against the at-fault driver that struck you. You will only be able to recover in a third-party claim if you can demonstrate one of three “threshold injuries.” This makes it all the more crucial for you to have our legal team work with your doctors to prove that your injury reaches the level of eligibility for a third-party claim.
Another possible complication in Michigan is the principle of comparative fault. If you are found to be partially to blame for the accident, the amount you receive in damages will be lowered by the percentage of responsibility the court or jury assigns to you. It should be noted, however that if the court or jury deems you 50 percent or more responsible for the accident, you will not receive any recovery for non-economic losses. Here again, our legal representation will be invaluable as we fight to win you every dollar you are entitled to.
Contact Our Experienced Michigan Bad Weather Accident Attorneys
Once you contact us, our accomplished attorneys will take over all insurance and legal matters, leaving you free to concentrate on your recovery. We know all too well how overwhelming being seriously injured in an accident is, so we will do everything in our power to absorb at least some of your stress and provide you with the resources you need to secure your future.