The police officer said the “weather caused the accident” so does that mean the other driver is not liable for causing my injuries and damages? In our experience, one or more drivers are almost always at fault for causing an accident in bad weather and can therefore be held liable for injuries and damages.
Simply stated, the rules of the road don’t change just because the accident occurred while it is snowy, icy, rainy, etc.
Generally speaking, Iowa law provides that a driver cannot escape liability during bad weather by invoking the “sudden emergency doctrine” or “Act of God” doctrine to justify or defend one’s conduct in slippery weather if the driver knew–or had reason to know–that the roads are slick and the driver nonetheless chose to drive in an unsafe manner for the conditions that then existed.
For example, if a driver knew it was slippery when they left home and they knew the roads were slippery as they drove to their destination and they nonetheless drove too fast for the slippery conditions (even if their speed was under the speed limit), that driver cannot credibly invoke the “sudden emergency doctrine” or “Act of God” doctrine in an effort to escape liability because the driver knew–or should have known–that the roads were slippery and they should have reduced their speed like everyone else (or avoided following other cars too close, etc).
Stated another way, if cars are traveling at 30 m.p.h. on a slippery interstate and a reckless driver is driving 50 m.p.h. and gets sideways and slams into the other cars, the reckless driver cannot credibly escape liability by claiming the roads were too slippery and that slick roads “caused” the accident. In fact, the Iowa Uniform Jury Instructions state that one cannot invoke the “sudden emergency doctrine” if the emergency is of one’s own making while the jury instructions also make clear that one cannot use an “Act of God” defense unless the “Act of God” (e.g. wet, icy, or slick, etc. roads) is the SOLE proximate cause of the accident which a driver cannot credibly claim if they were driving recklessly for the conditions that existed at the time of the accident.
So the general rule is that if a police officer refuses to issue a ticket due to “the weather” but you still think someone else caused your accident–even if it was snowy or icy or rainy at the time of the accident–you should contact an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney as it is very rare that bad weather truly excuses a bad driver’s reckless driving.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a serious accident, we can come to you if you cannot come to us; please contact the Cedar Rapids, Iowa personal injury law firm, Sam Sheronick Law Firm, P.C., at 1-888-4SAMLAW or click https://samlawpc.com
Please realize the advice given herein is for informational purposes only and may not apply to a given situation as you should consult an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights to see whether this information applies to your given situation.
Please realize the advice given herein is for informational purposes only and may not apply to a given situation as you should consult and experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights to see whether this information applies to your given situation.
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