Many people gravitate to northern California for its beautiful climate, but our area is no stranger to bad weather. Whether it’s fog, rain, or ice, it can have a massive impact on road conditions. If you’ve been hurt in a fog (or other bad weather) crash, it is vitally important to do a genuinely thorough investigation of your accident, which means it is essential to have an experienced San Mateo auto accident lawyer on your side.
The most recent of these kinds of tragic fog-related accidents occurred to our east in Tuolumne County earlier this month. In dense fog, a driver traveling “apparently at high speed” missed a curve and left Highway 120, flipping several times and landing upside down in a field, according to a Modesto Bee report. By the time first responders arrived, the driver was dead and the fog was still so dense that the only part of the vehicle the responders could see from the road was its illuminated headlights.
A week earlier, the location was to our south, in Calexico. This was was another relatively common fog-related crash. A driver from Nevada, moving at 55 mph in a dense fog failed, in the near-zero visibility, to see several cars stopped at a traffic light. The Nevada driver slammed into the vehicle immediately in front of him, causing that car to crash into the next one ahead of it. The chain-reaction accident resulted in three injuries and one death, according to the Calexico Chronicle.
In bad-weather accidents like these, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. One relates to speed; specifically, it’s the idea that, just because a driver was not exceeding the posted speed limit, that does not automatically mean that his/her speed was not excessive and cannot be a basis for finding him/her liable in your case.
The law says that all drivers must, at all times, operate their vehicles in a manner and at a speed that is reasonably safe for the conditions. What is a safe speed on a dry road on a clear day may be profoundly unsafe on an ice-covered road.
In the Calexico accident, the police said that the Nevada driver was going 55 mph. Even if the posted speed limit was 55 mph, it is distinctly possible that, given the severely restricted visibility caused by the heavy fog, 55 mph was not a safe speed under the conditions. If you are seeking an award of damages in a case like that, you have the potential to use the defendant’s speed as a basis for his/her liability, even if it wasn’t above the posted limit.
The Complexities of Determining Liability in Chain-Reaction Crashes
Another thing to keep in mind in bad weather crashes, especially fog-related ones, is the prevalence of chain reactions. Whether it is the inability to see (as occurs commonly in fog crashes) or the inability to stop (as occurs frequently in snow and ice accidents,) bad weather can often mean that one collision eventually triggers several more after it.
The key thing to keep in mind if your accident resembled that scenario is the importance of having a knowledgeable legal team capable of doing a truly thorough investigation on your side. In chain-reaction accidents, the facts may be complicated and may point in many different directions. The evidence may indicate that only one or two drivers were at fault, or it may say that several drivers were to blame. Doing a genuinely complete investigation that spots all of the drivers who were to blame, and then naming them in your lawsuit, can be critical to getting everything you need from your lawsuit.
Whether your case was one involving a driver who was impaired, who was distracted, who was driving too fast given the poor road/weather conditions, or was negligent for some other reason, you need a legal team equipped to fight for you and get you everything you deserve. Count on the knowledgeable San Mateo auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to be that kind of advocate for you and your family. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.
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