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Weather-Related Car Accidents

The weather affects driving in Rhode Island no matter what time of year it is. Typically, we think of weather-related driving dangers associated with heavy rain, snow, and ice, but sun can also be hazardous to motorists due to its ability to create a blinding glare. In addition to snow, rain, ice, or sleet making roadways slippery, bright sun as well as fog can reduce driver visibility and impact the capacity to effectively see one’s surroundings. When adverse weather conditions create poor visibility and decrease a driver’s ability to safely operate their vehicle, a collision may easily result. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident resulting from a weather condition like snow, rain, or ice, a Rhode Island lawyer can determine your eligibility to seek compensation for your injuries and property damage. With over two decades of personal injury experience, Attorney David Tapalian has successfully helped hundreds of people throughout RI and MA seek damages for their losses after being hurt in a crash caused by another driver. Contact Tapalian Law at 401-552-5000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your car accident claim.

Adverse Weather & Crash Statistics
  • Approx. 2,000 people are killed each year in crashes caused by ice or snow conditions throughout the U.S.
  • Snow contributes to 17% of car accidents in the United States.
  • Over 150,000 collisions happen because of ice on the roads. Studies found it takes a driver 10x longer to stop their vehicle on ice, increasing the chance of hitting the car in front of you.
  • When bright sun causes a glare, the risk of a car accident increases by 16%. Research varies regarding the number of accidents occurring due to bright sun conditions with numbers ranging from 3,000 to 9,000 crashes.
  • General low-visibility crashes caused by fog, rain, snow, smoke, and dust, account for more than 600 fatalities a year, and over 16,000 injuries.
  • In addition to increasing the likelihood of an auto accident, snow increases the risk of pedestrian accidents, especially for young children, who frequently use the roadways for sledding, snowboarding, or playing in the snow.

If you, or someone you love, has been a victim of a weather-related car accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, its crucial to speak with a qualified attorney to see if you are eligible for compensation due to negligence based on factors specific to your case. If a family member was killed in a car crash due to proven negligence, certain family may consider filing a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for their burial and funeral expenses to ease the financial burden that can arise after a death. Rhode Island Statute § 10-7-1 specifies that a careless driver whose actions killed another person will be liable for the damage they caused. A lawyer at Tapalian Law will examine pertinent evidence relevant to your case to determine its viability and recommend options for moving forward with a RI personal injury claim.

Who is Responsible for a Motor Vehicle Accident Caused by Bad Weather?

When adverse weather affects driving, motorists need to take extra caution if they must be on the roadways. Specifically, a motorist must stay in control of their vehicle when driving in dangerous weather. This may entail reducing their speed, even if that speed is below the posted speed limit, and keeping a greater distance from those vehicles in front of them to avoid a crash when attempting to stop. Motor vehicle operators should avoid quick acceleration and applying excessive force to the brakes to avoid sliding. A driver must follow regular traffic safety rules with even more caution than usual. These precautions are especially critical for large truck operators whose heavy trucks can cause significant and dangerous crashes involving multiple vehicles if they slip on ice or snow.

Rhode Island laws dictate that drivers use due care and operate their vehicle at a responsible speed that depends on the conditions and hazards existing at the time.

§ 31-14-1. Reasonable and prudent speeds.

No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event, speed shall be so controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care. Violations of this section are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.

If a Rhode Island car crash results from ice, snow, rain, or another adverse weather condition, typically the vehicle driver who caused the accident will be held responsible, despite the slippery or wet circumstances. Even if they were not acting negligently, the insurance companies assume a motorist should be aware of dangerous road conditions and proceed with extra care. If you were hurt in a weather-related car accident in RI or MA, contact a top-rated personal injury lawyer to determine if you are entitled to compensation.

Establishing Liability

To establish proof that another driver is at fault for a car accident in Rhode Island, one must prove that the person acted negligently, based on the elements of negligence. For example, motorists are responsible for ensuring their vehicle is prepared to drive safely in any type of weather condition. Therefore, a driver may be found negligent for causing a collision if it’s found they were not using their windshield wipers in the rain, or if they failed to turn on their headlights on a snowy night when they were necessary to ensure safety. Or, if the driver realized the weather was dangerous but did not change their driving habits to adjust and continued to drive too fast for the conditions. Even if their speed was technically below the normal limit, they may still be held liable.

Reckless behavior that would be considered negligent in a regular situation is also considered to be so in a weather-related car accident. For instance, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, operating a vehicle when too tired, and speeding are all examples of actions that would put another driver at fault for a collision during adverse weather conditions. Vehicle owners are also responsible for removing ice and snow from their car or truck to ensure they can clearly see their surroundings and that nothing has the potential to fall from their car, like a block of ice or snow, and hit another vehicle on the roadway.

Beyond their actions on the roadway, if a person does not properly maintain their vehicle, they can also be liable for damages. Tires need to be checked frequently to ensure they do not wear out, and headlights and windshield wipers must be tested and replaced if necessary, to ensure proper functionality, amongst other safety maintenance protocols. If a driver neglected the care and upkeep of their car thus creating a risk, they may be responsible for a car accident that occurred during adverse weather conditions. To ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road, take appropriate precautions such as wearing sunglasses to reduce sun glare, use headlights to alert other vehicles to your presence, and regularly replace windshield wipers to assure the best possible visibility.

Tapalian Law is Equipped to Help After a Weather-Related Accident in RI or MA

Adverse weather conditions can occur during any season, especially in the New England area. Highly respected Personal Injury Attorney David Tapalian is licensed to practice law in RI, MA, and FL, and with multiple office locations including Providence, Warwick, and Seekonk, he and his skilled team at Tapalian Law are ready to help you. We want to make the process as easy for you as possible. Attorney Tapalian focuses on personal injury and car accident claims and handles each case personally and is available day and night to answer your questions and concerns. Call us at 401-552-5000 to schedule a free consultation. Tapalian Law is dedicated to fighting for your legal rights and will help put you in the best position for your desired outcome.

Client Reviews
He took care of everything and kept me updated as well. It was such a smooth process and in the end I won my case. I would highly recommend David Tapalian! Patrice F.
When I contacted David Tapalian, Attorney & Counselor at Law, all my worries were immediately alleviated. He handled my case from beginning to end and kept me updated every step of the way. Susie M.
I visited David a couple of days after my accident and he gave me clear and concise details on what would happen throughout the process... David N.