You never know what you're going to encounter on your daily commute or when traveling in an unknown area. It could be a pothole in the road, a sharp curve, a downed tree or hazardous weather.
You may prepare yourself ahead of time by staying up-to-date with the weather and traffic conditions. You may also be aware of a construction zone that could cause traffic to back up.
Unfortunately, not all drivers are prepared for the environmental factors they may encounter. Even if you drive responsibly, reduce your speed, and stay attentive, there is no guarantee that other drivers will do the same.
What are some environmental factors?
Environmental factors are unfavorable driving conditions that are nearly impossible to avoid. They can be anticipated with advanced warning or come by surprise. They include:
- Slippery road conditions
- Adverse weather conditions (rain, snow, and high winds)
- Roadway debris (downed trees, rocks, and objects fallen from cars or trucks)
- Potholes, large cracks, and uneven surfaces
- Visibility challenges caused by fog and poor lighting
- Frequent or sharp curves in the road
- Poorly-designed infrastructure, such as confusing intersections
Are crashes caused by environmental factors?
Environmental factors are merely contributors to crashes. They are not causes. They create the conditions that can lead to crashes when drivers fail to use caution.
Here are some examples of how human error can lead to crashes during unfavorable conditions:
- Distracted driving while approaching an intersection, traveling around a curve, or when approaching a roadway defect
- Speeding through a construction zone or around a sharp curve
- Driving at an unreasonable speed during slippery road conditions, even when traveling at the posted speed limit
- Driving drunk at night or when visibility is affected by rain or fog
Why should I hire an attorney to handle my claim?
If you were involved in a crash because another driver failed to use caution, the environmental factors involved can complicate your claim. That's because the insurance company who represents the at-fault driver could place more emphasis on the environmental factors than the actions of the other driver.
For example, if you're crash occurred on an icy road, the insurance company can claim that the crash was caused by the road condition and say that nobody was at fault. This can hurt your ability to obtain full compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering.
That's why it's critical that you refrain from speaking to the other driver's insurance company and consult with an experienced Washington car accident attorney who can investigate your crash and help you get the compensation you need.