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What Drivers Can Learn from a Tragic Fog-Related Crash in California

Northern California is known for many wonderful things… amazing cultural diversity, economic opportunity and innovation, scenic views, and beautiful weather. And the fog. OK, that last one may not always seem so wonderful, especially if you’re behind the wheel when dense fog rolls in. When an auto accident occurs in a dense fog, it is often said that the fog “caused” the crash. Fortunately, the law has a more complex and nuanced way of analyzing weather-related auto accidents, which means that, even if the weather was a major factor in the crash that hurt you, you could successfully pursue and recover the compensation you urgently need. Be sure to contact a knowledgeable San Mateo car accident attorney to find out more.

One of the biggest multi-vehicle crashes in U.S. history occurred in Northern California due, in part, to fog. The tule fog that frequently occurs in fall and winter led to a 108-vehicle crash on Highway 99 south of Fresno in November 2007 that killed two and injured dozens.

A more recent crash involved fewer vehicles but, tragically, more fatalities. The scene was once again Highway 99, this time south of Chico. The weather factor once again was dense fog. According to a KCRA report, the multi-vehicle accident included five cars and five tractor-trailer trucks. The dead included four young adults and a 61-year-old survivor of the Camp Fire who, according to his son, died while trying to assist another victim who was trapped in a different vehicle, actionnewsnow reported.

While dense fog undeniably increases the difficulty of seeing (and avoiding hitting) other cars, that does not mean that the presence of fog removes all potential for legal liability in an auto accident. There are certain natural phenomena that the law calls “acts of God.” If the thing that caused your crash was an act of God, then there is no negligence and no legal liability.

Dense fog generally does not qualify as an act of God.

Dense fog is a foreseeable natural occurrence, and drivers who drive through dense fog are people making a conscious decision to continue down the road. The law in California says that all drivers generally must operate their vehicles with a reasonable degree of care at all times, even in very bad weather. That means that they must driver in a manner that is reasonably safe for the conditions in which they are driving.

The speed limit may still be too fast if the weather is poor

One critical thing that may mean is slowing down. Just because a driver was moving at or below the posted speed limit, that doesn’t automatically mean they were not negligent. It is possible to be moving at or below the speed limit and still be driving at an unsafely fast speed if the weather conditions are snowy, icy, rainy… or very foggy.

If you’re hurt (or a loved one killed) in a fog accident, it is important to get the legal help you need as quickly as possible. The sooner you have a skilled legal team on your side, the sooner your representation can begin investigating the crash and getting the evidence you’ll need to build a successful case. Did the driver who caused your injuries rear-end you? (If so, that may be strong proof the driver was going too fast for the conditions at the time or was otherwise not in proper control of their vehicle.) Did the driver who hit you have low-beam headlights that were in proper working order and that were on at the time of the crash? (Proof that they didn’t may be a key to establishing an additional basis for holding that driver liable.)

You need a powerful advocate on your side in your auto accident case. Rely on the experienced San Mateo car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to provide you with the swift and diligent legal representation you need to get the recovery you deserve, whether that’s through an insurance claim or a lawsuit in court. 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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