Snow and ice drastically increase the likelihood of crashing, due to the decrease in traction that tires have, as well as decreased visibility during a storm. Kansas City averages 15 inches of snowfall annually, according to BestPlaces.net. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, weather-related crashes kill 5,000 people annually. Roughly 21 percent of all motor vehicle crashes are weather-related crashes, which equates to around 1.25 million collisions.
However, just because a crash is weather-related does not mean that it is caused directly by the weather. A weather-related crash is a crash that occurs when the roads are wet from snow or rain or slick from ice, during fog or high crosswind speeds, or during a storm that causes poor visibility. The actual cause of the collision may be from something else, such as speeding or distracted driving. In fact, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration suggests that fewer than two percent of fatal crashes are caused by the weather, and 94 percent are caused by human error.
The Other Driver Is Blaming Me for the Crash
If you have never been in a serious auto collision before, you likely have not experienced the blame game that negligent drivers attempt to play. Even if the other driver accepts responsibility, their insurance company will do whatever it takes to decrease their degree of liability. This includes pointing the finger at you. Missouri adheres to the doctrine of comparative negligence, which means that the degree of fault directly impacts liability. For example, if Driver A causes the crash by driving drunk and is held 100 percent liable, Driver B will be entitled to 100 percent of the compensation. If Driver A is held only 80 percent liable, while Driver B is held 20 percent liable, Driver B will only be able to collect 80 percent of the compensation for their damages.
How Comparative Negligence Works in a Storm
Bad weather makes it more difficult to determine the cause of a crash. During heavy snow, skid marks may not be visible. During flooding roads, other evidence may be washed away. Storms also make it harder for third-party witnesses to see what happened and to give accurate descriptions to law enforcement. Additionally, only you and the other driver know what the conditions were truly like during the day and hour of the crash.
For example, you may have been exercising extreme and justified caution on a snowy highway when you were hit from behind. The other party could argue that you were driving dangerously by going so slowly on the highway and that they did not have time to react given the poor visibility caused by the snowstorm, and therefore you should be held partially liable for the crash.
Kansas City Car Accident Attorneys Will Maximize Your Compensation
In order to maximize your compensation, it is vital to decrease or completely erase any comparative negligence that the other party and their insurance company attempts to place upon you. For experienced legal representation, call the Kansas City auto accident attorney of the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm today at 816-399-3356 to schedule a free consultation.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.