Who is At Fault for a Weather-Related Car Accident?

22% of all vehicle accidents each year are weather-related car accidents. But the question is, how can one determine fault in a car accident when the weather is involved? Both insurance companies and car accident attorneys look at certain types of factors in the crash to determine who is truly liable for the accident.

Since Tennesse has an at-fault law, Memphis accident victims can feel more comfortable when seeking compensation. The at-fault law means the driver who is found more at fault for the crash is responsible for paying for the damages caused through their insurance policy.

What Evidence is Viewed for a Weather-Related Car Accident?

Driving during any type of weather, drivers are assumed to drive more carefully. This means driving slower when vision is impaired, using headlights when there is heavy rain or snow, and allowing a larger distance between vehicles. So the types of evidence police officers, insurance companies, and car accident attorneys look at can show whether the drivers were driving safer.

  • Did all drivers slow down their speed to fit the type of weather conditions?
  • Was there enough distance between the drivers?
  • Was the weather event known or unexpected?
  • Could any drivers take action to avoid the accident?
  • Did the drivers use proper traffic signaling when lane switching or turning?

These questions all put into perspective extra precautions that drivers should be making when driving in bad weather conditions. If you believe you are the victim of a weather-related car accident, then you should seek the assistance of one of our Memphis car accident lawyers. They will be able to view the evidence provided by you during a free consultation and assess the next steps.

After a weather-related car accident, you should be taking photos of the accident scene and of the damages to all vehicles involved. If there were any witnesses to the accident, make sure you get their contact information or testimony as this can help prove negligence as well.

memphis weather-related car accident

Responsibilities of Drivers during Dangerous Weather Conditions

Drivers are expected to drive safely during times of dangerous weather conditions. Inclement weather like heavy rain or fog can cause auto accidents if certain responsibilities aren’t met.

Heavy rain

Road conditions during heavy rain can cause multiple types of hazards. Low visibility and flooding are very common hazards that occur. When there is low visibility, drivers are expected to slow down and allow for space in between other vehicles.

Also turning on headlights make it easier to view in front of you but can alert other drivers that you are behind them. Be sure to check that you have working windshield wipers as they are essential when driving through rain.

Flooding can cause many drivers to lose control of their vehicles and this causes many car crashes as well. Hydroplaning often happens when cars lose grip on the road surface by either sudden braking, speeding up, or driving through deeper puddles. It is important to know how to handle your vehicle when driving through flooded roadways. It is often safer to drive in the middle to left lanes since the right lanes tend to flood more easily.


Fog often occurs in the mornings and impairs driver visibility. Similar to heavy rain, drivers should slow down when driving through foggy conditions. Drivers will normally experience fog in the cooler mornings of the year and it usually disappears as the sun rises and warms the air.

When is Fault Determined?

After every bit of evidence is assessed by the attorney and insurance company, they will be able to make sure the at-fault driver is held liable for your injuries and damages. These examples below can be used to prove the driver negligent for the weather-related car accident:

  • Willingly driving through dangerous weather conditions
  • Driving at an unsafe speed
  • Not slowing down when taking a turn
  • There is not enough distance left between the vehicles
  • Failing to use headlights during poor visibility weather conditions
  • Weak breaks
  • Ineffective windshield wipers
  • Worn down tires

About the Author

Michael Feiner
Michael Feiner

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Michael A. Feiner is a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office of Steinger, Greene & Feiner. Since being admitted to the Florida Bar in 2001, Michael has devoted his practice to representing plaintiffs throughout Florida in various tort and strict liability cases and has successfully litigated cases against national insurance companies, large public companies, and governmental agencies, resulting in tens of millions of dollars for his clients. He has handled all types of personal injury and wrongful death cases on behalf of plaintiffs, including automobile negligence, premises liability, medical malpractice, product liability, dog bites, and sexual harassment. Michael’s product liability case against Microsoft, as well as his representation of victims of sexual harassment and abuse by physicians, has garnered him important media attention at both the local and national levels. Michael is an experienced trial lawyer and successfully argued an appeal to the Fourth District Court of Appeal. In the reported decision Ortlieb v. Butts, 849 So.2d 1165 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), Michael persuaded the Fourth District Court of Appeal that a directed verdict on liability was appropriate where the defendant did not rebut the presumption of negligence of a rear driver in a rear-end collision.