Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

Weather-Related “Defenses” to Auto Accidents

Posted Friday, December 11, 2020 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextAs winter hits the Pacific Northwest, accidents and auto injuries throughout the region will likely increase. This is typical, especially in climates like Washington State. In fact, according to the Department of Transportation, nearly 76,000 people are injured nationwide each year in snow and ice related auto collisions. This includes upwards of 900 deaths. But this does not actually mean that winter weather caused all of these accidents. It simply means that weather may have contributed to the crashes, or it can mean that the collisions occurred during winter conditions. As any experienced auto accident lawyer in the Seattle area knows, weather often becomes more of an excuse than a cause. Here are some common examples of weather-related “defenses” that insurance companies and negligent drivers may try to use to avoid liability.

*Sun in My Eyes*It is very common for drivers in good conditions and bad to claim that the sun was in their eyes, thus causing them to lose control of their vehicle or to not see other vehicles. This can also occur in snow, due to the phenomenon known as snow-blindness. This happens when the sun reflects off of bright white snow, causing a blinding glare. The problem, of course, is that it remains the driver’s responsibility to keep control of their vehicle regardless of snow or sunshine.

*Ice Made Vehicle Unstoppable*This or some variation of it is commonly used by insurance companies to claim that their driver was not negligent, but rather, he or she simply could not stop the vehicle as it hydroplaned on ice. This is perhaps true in some very rare and extreme cases, but ultimately, every driver takes a risk when they get behind the wheel. If a driver opts to take to the road in such bad conditions, they assume the responsibility of being able to manage their vehicle in those conditions. If they are unable to do so and cause a serious injury to someone else on the road, then they must still be held responsible.

*No *Time to React

Whatever the insurance carrier wants to call it, sometimes a driver will claim that in a snowy or icy condition, the victim pulled out in front of them or stopped too quickly, leaving them no time to adequately stop. This is generally used in rear-end collisions. The problem with this defense, of course, is that it ignores the fact that it is the duty of all drivers to allow enough space between themselves and the vehicles in front of them, so that in the event of an emergency braking situation, the following vehicle can stop in time. If you are following too closely for the weather conditions, this is still negligence.

*Partnering With a Skilled Trial Team to Maximize Your Recovery*When injured in a Washington State auto accident, weather-related or not, it is always in your best interests to work with a skilled trial team. This means hiring attorneys with real-world trial skills and experience. At Pivotal Law Group, our attorneys have years of trial experience, and they understand the types of defenses that you can expect to face when claiming significant damages from a wreck. Call or visit the firm online today to learn more or to schedule a free one-on-one consultation with one of our attorneys.