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Car accidents account for nearly $380 million in medical costs annually in the United States, and bad weather is a large contributing factor in traffic incidents. In Michigan, where the average amount of rainfall each year is around 30 to 38 inches, wet road conditions exacerbate the danger of careless driving. If you have been involved in a car accident where rain or bad weather conditions played a part, an attorney can guide you through the insurance and legal matters surrounding your case and help you recover compensation for your medical care.

How Rain Can Contribute to a Car Accident

Rain contributes more to car accidents than any other form of bad weather. When filing a rain car accident case, it is important to understand how and why rain can cause dangerous driving conditions. Some reasons include:

  • Reduced traction, which is caused by wet roads making it difficult for drivers to remain in control. Slippery surfaces impede the vehicle tires’ ability to create enough traction. This can result in loss of control and sliding. In the winter months, rain can turn into black ice on the road quickly and create a slick surface that reduces tire traction. Handling loss of control from slippery road conditions is a learned skill that many drivers do not possess.
  • High-quality windshield wipers are important for better visibility when driving. Rain causes decreased visibility, and worn wipers are not as effective at clearing the windshield, particularly at higher speeds. The heavier the rainfall, the more difficult it is to see the road. A foggy windshield is also a danger to visibility.

Even in areas where rainfall is common, many drivers do not possess the necessary skills for driving in wet conditions. As a result, they can be a hazard to others on the road. For example, an anxious driver may drive too slowly in the rain and create a hazard for faster-moving traffic, which is already dealing with decreased visibility. Aggressive or reckless drivers who do not practice enough caution in wet conditions also increase the likelihood of an accident.

Not All Rain Conditions Are the Same

Inclement weather, such as torrential rain and thunderstorms, present even more road hazards than the average rainy day. In addition to the decreased visibility caused by rainfall, you also have the distraction of thunder and lightning. Additionally, torrential rain often causes dangerous flooding that can make a vehicle skid or hydroplane and cause a crash. In some cases, drivers may overestimate their vehicle’s height and weight and attempt to drive through deep puddles caused by sudden floods, leading to floating and loss of control. 

Michigan Car Accident Laws

Every state has laws that govern car accidents. If you were involved in a car accident in Michigan, there are at least two very important laws that can impact your case:

  1. The statute of limitations defines the exact amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit for a civil case involving a car accident. In Michigan, you have three years from the date of the accident to file your suit before you are no longer eligible for compensation, and that applies to family members filing on behalf of a deceased relative as well. This time limit only applies to the lawsuit and not the insurance claim. Most insurance companies have a vaguely stated standard for filing a claim, such as “promptly.” That likely means you have a few days or weeks at most. 
  2. Comparative negligence is a concept with two approaches to determining who is responsible for damages in a car accident. Michigan is a “modified comparative fault” state. Under this rule, the percentage of fault you bear for the accident reflects the percentage of damages you are expected to pay. For example, if the total amount of damages is $20,000 and you are found 20 percent responsible for the accident, you are expected to cover $4,000 in damages. The defendant pays the remaining $16,000. Furthermore, modified comparative negligence states that you are entitled to no compensation if you bear more than 50 percent responsibility for the accident. 

If your accident resulted in either injury or death of a person or damage to property that exceeds $1,000, Michigan law requires you to report the accident to law enforcement. A personal injury attorney would advise you to report the accident to the police anyway because police reports are excellent sources of evidence for your claim. 

How Insurance Claims Work in Michigan

Michigan is a “no-fault” state. This means that you should have “no-fault” insurance, or personal injury protection, that will cover damages to your person and property in the event of a car accident. Benefits provided in your PIP policy include:

  • Coverage of medical costs related to injuries sustained in the accident
  • Coverage for up to 85 percent of income lost due to injuries 
  • Medical coverage for any family member living in your home that was injured in the car accident

The residual liability component of no-fault insurance in Michigan will even cover defense costs and damages in the amounts listed in your policy if you are found liable in an accident.

PIP claims do not account for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. To receive compensation for those, you have to file a civil lawsuit. Additionally, if your policy pays out the full amount of your coverage but does not cover all your expenses, you may be able to request compensation for the remaining amount in your lawsuit. An attorney will advise on the possibilities for your case in an evaluation. 

Contact a Rain Accident Lawyer Today

The circumstances surrounding a car accident involving wet road conditions are sometimes difficult to evaluate. The personal injury attorneys at Mike Morse Law Firm can help you understand the options you may have to recover compensation for your injuries. Our team of top accident attorneys, expert researchers, and support staff will ensure that you have proper legal representation to guide you as you recover physically. If you sustained an injury from a car accident involving rain, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Sources:

Road Safety Facts

https://www.britannica.com/place/Michigan/Climate

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/michigan-car-accident-laws.html

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