Car Accidents in Low Visibility: Can I File a Lawsuit?
Many car accidents happen due, at least in part, to poor visibility. Several different weather conditions can result in low visibility, including heavy rain and snow, or thick fog. Often, low visibility conditions occur during the winter months, and motorists are involved in various types of collisions that range from minor, low-speed crashes to serious and life-threatening collisions that occur at high speeds on highways around New York. Much too frequently, motorists assume that motor vehicle accidents that happen in low visibility or during winter storms are caused solely by the weather. In other words, motorists and vehicle occupants who are injured assume that they do not have any options for seeking compensation other than filing an auto insurance claim.
While New York is a no-fault state for auto insurance purposes, it is critical to understand that many crashes that happen in low visibility conditions actually result from another driver’s negligence. When a low visibility accident results at least in part from another motorist’s careless driving given the conditions, you may be eligible to file a car accident lawsuit if you have suffered serious injuries. We want to say more about collisions that occur in inclement weather and when you may be eligible to file a car accident lawsuit against an at-fault driver.
Motorists Can be Negligent in Low Visibility Crashes
Just because there is inclement weather, including low visibility, does not mean that motorists can behave as they would during favorable weather conditions. Even if the speed limit is 55 miles per hour, for example, drivers owe a duty of care to others on the roads, and that duty of care might require a driver to slow down in certain conditions. To be clear, if it is difficult to see due to heavy fog, or rain or snow, a 55 mile per hour speed limit might not be reasonable under the conditions. In such conditions, a reasonable driver might slow down to a speed of, for instance, 30 miles per hour, in order to avoid a collision with another vehicle.
If a driver insists on traveling at or just below the speed limit when there is low visibility, that driver can indeed be at fault for a crash that happens. To be sure, that driver can even be cited for speeding if she or he is traveling within the posted speed limit but the weather conditions require a much slower speed. However, an injured motorist or vehicle occupant will only be able to file a car accident lawsuit against the driver traveling at an unsafe speed if serious injuries have occurred.
Meeting the Serious Injury Threshold for a Low Visibility Car Accident Lawsuit
Vehicle occupants who are injured in a low visibility crash under the conditions described above will likely need to begin the process of seeking financial compensation by filing an auto insurance claim through their own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Since New York is a no-fault auto insurance state, injured parties in car crashes can only file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver if their injuries meet the “serious injury” definition set by New York law.
You should speak with a car accident lawyer in New York about the serious injury threshold and whether your injuries qualify. If you have indeed sustained a serious injury in a low visibility crash, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney
Do you have questions about filing a car accident lawsuit after a low visibility collision or another crash that occurred in inclement weather? One of our experienced New York car accident attorneys can help. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC for more information.