Regardless of what the weather conditions were when your accident occurred, you can still file a claim and seek recovery. If it was only your car involved in the accident and you struck an object or slid off the road, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance company using your collision or comprehensive coverage.
If you collided with another vehicle, keep in mind that inclement weather is only one factor that the insurance adjuster will consider. Bad weather can definitely affect the outcome of a claim, but it does not necessarily nullify it.
How does inclement weather affect liability?
All accident claims and lawsuits hinge on the concept of negligence. The insurer will need to determine how much fault to apportion to each party. To do so, it will look at all the contributing factors for the crash when making that determination – weather included.
When looking at weather conditions, one of the things that the adjuster will consider is whether the drivers were driving appropriately for the conditions. In most cases, in order to drive safely, drivers must reduce their speed and proceed with caution when driving on slick roads in the rain, snow, or sleet. Reckless driving in bad weather constitutes negligence. If one driver was driving too fast for the conditions, the insurer might assign her with a greater degree of fault.
The degree of fault affects each party’s liability. Each party’s liability is in direct proportion to its fault for the accident, and will reflect how much they can recover. If, for example, the insurance company assigns you 30 percent fault for the accident because you were driving too fast on snowy roads, you will only be able to recover 70 percent of your overall damages. In Pennsylvania, if you are more than 50 percent responsible for an accident, you cannot recover compensation.
With which insurance company should you file a claim?
Determining the insurance company that you should file your claim with depends on a couple of factors.
- Your own insurer – As aforementioned, if there were no other cars involved, you will have to resort to filing with your own insurer. The same goes for if you were primarily at fault for the accident. In both of these cases, you will need to recover under your medical benefits payments and your collision/comprehension coverages. Note, collision and comprehensive, types of insurance that pay for your own property damage, are optional coverages; check with your agent to see if you are covered.
- The other party’s insurer – If, however, the other party was at fault and you opted for traditional insurance on your policy, you will have the option of filing a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party. If you chose no-fault insurance you are most likely out of luck.
Accident claims involving bad weather can be very tricky. Speak to a local car accident attorney for help figuring out the best way to approach it so that you can secure the fullest recovery possible. For help from a lawyer in Pennsylvania that has handled numerous bad weather car accident cases, contact Cordisco & Saile LLC at 215-791-8911 to schedule a free consultation.