Navigating the roads of Kansas City during inclement weather can be challenging. Whether a thunderstorm in spring or a winter storm, adverse weather conditions increase the risk of road accidents. At Foster Wallace, LLC, we understand the complexities that bad weather brings to questions of liability in car accidents. We wanted to provide a deeper look into how these elements play a role in determining who is at fault.
Navigating Kansas City's Weather: A Driver’s Duty of Care
In Missouri, as in Kansas, the basic principle of liability in car accidents is negligence. A driver is negligent if they do not exercise the level of care that a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances. But when Mother Nature unleashes her fury, the expectations for this "reasonable care" can shift.
Adjusting to Weather Conditions: What’s Expected of the Drivers?
Kansas City drivers are expected to adapt their driving to the weather conditions. This means:
- Slowing down to account for slick roads or reduced visibility.
- Keeping a greater distance from other vehicles to allow for safe stopping.
- Ensuring your vehicle’s lights and signals are functioning properly to communicate with other drivers.
- Ignoring these adjustments can be seen as negligent behavior, increasing liability in the event of an accident.
Shared Fault in Slippery Situations: Understanding Comparative Negligence
Missouri’s approach to shared fault, known as “pure comparative negligence,” allows a damaged party to recover even if they are 99% at fault, although their recovery is reduced by their degree of fault. In bad weather, this rule often comes into play. For instance, if a Kansas City driver is found to be 20% at fault for an accident, they can still recover 80% of their damages from the other party.
The Evidence in the Eye of the Storm
Bad weather can obscure the usual evidence left behind after an accident. At Foster Wallace, LLC, we work with forensic experts who specialize in reconstructing accidents under these challenging conditions to ensure the truth comes to light.
Insurance Considerations in the Kansas City Climate
Insurance companies in Kansas City will consider the weather when they analyze an accident. They understand even the most cautious driver might skid on black ice. However, they will also scrutinize the actions of each driver: Did they appropriately adjust their driving for the conditions?
Safe Driving Tips from Foster Wallace, LLC
As your dedicated Kansas City law firm, we represent you in court and care about your safety on the road. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Always have your vehicle weather-ready, with proper tires and adequate windshield wipers.
- Familiarize yourself with handling your vehicle in various weather conditions.
- Plan your route with weather conditions in mind, allowing extra time for travel during bad weather.
While bad weather can be an influential factor in car accidents, it does not automatically determine liability. Every driver in Kansas City has a responsibility to drive safely, regardless of the conditions. Should the worst happen, know that Foster Wallace, LLC is here to help navigate the legal storm.