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Who is responsible for a car accident that occurs in bad weather?

Thankfully, the bad weather associated with winter is gone -- for at least a few months. However, even though temperatures are warming, there is still the possibility of poor climate conditions. These conditions can have a negative impact on New Jersey residents' driving abilities. If a car accident happens due, in part, to bad weather, how is liability determined?

Poor road conditions can occur anywhere, at anytime. Common causes include severe rain, smoke, fog and dust. Each of these can cause significant vision hazards for drivers. If appropriate accommodations are not made, accidents are more likely to occur.

It is believed that, on a national level, hundreds of people are killed annually in car accidents due to poor visibility. About 14 percent of these accidents seem to occur on interstates, while 33 percent happen on common highways. Researchers believe that better warning systems are needed to inform drivers of potential vision hazards. However, even with warnings, drivers are their own worst enemy when it comes to adjusting driving habits when visibility is poor.

New Jersey residents who have been injured in crashes occurring in bad weather may feel there is little they can do to recover any damages suffered. The truth is, a driver who does not drive appropriately for road conditions, and causes an accident, can be held accountable for the losses suffered by any victims. A personal injury claim can be filed in civil court against the individual believed responsible for a car accident. Upon the successful establishment of negligence, a victim may be awarded a monetary judgment for certain documented damages.

Source: newsroom.niu.edu, "Driving blind", May 13, 2015

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