Florida Spring Brings Rain … And Wet Roads
Spring in central Florida has brought steady rain, as spring in the Sunshine State often does. While many Floridians are used to rain, many are not, and even those who think they’ve seen it all can get lulled into a false sense of security about how to drive in constant precipitation. Wet pavement is a major factor in car accidents, especially in the spring, as people get used to driving in such conditions more constantly again. There are many ways to stay safe on Florida roads, or at least to help minimize your risk for being in a car accident due to recklessness on wet roads, and if you are hit, you are not without options in most cases.
Under Florida law, every driver has a duty to exercise reasonable care toward the other motorists on the road. Basically, this means that every driver must try and minimize the risk of harm to other people who might reasonably be affected by their actions. This includes refraining from actions like texting and driving, speeding, and other behavior that is objectively dangerous and/or against Florida law, as well as ensuring that your automobile is well maintained – your tires are not bald, your steering column is in good shape, and so on.
The reasons that these are especially important behaviors to practice are simple – if you are involved in an accident and it comes out that your tires were not in proper shape, or that you were engaged in proscribed behavior like texting and driving, that conduct can be used as evidence that you were liable for whatever accident may have occurred. If you, say, knowingly drove on bald tires, and got involved in an accident, you might wind up accepting more liability than you otherwise would have, because you could have done something to possibly prevent the accident and you did not.
Florida’s negligence law requires that certain criteria be established for the court before a defendant can be found liable – if you, for example, are in an accident with another driver, you must show that the driver’s conduct negligently or recklessly breached their duty to exercise reasonable care, with no other intervening cause, and that you suffered tangible harm because of it. This can be difficult to prove, because sometimes, it can be very hard to show that the defendant negligently or recklessly breached their duty. For example, if you are in an accident with a car that hydroplaned and was unable to stop before hitting yours, it might be quite difficult to establish that the car hydroplaned because its driver was negligent or reckless. Sometimes the weather is simply so bad that hydroplaning becomes all but inevitable.
Be advised that if the defendant in your accident case is not a driver, but another actor such as a municipality or a manufacturer, the duty of reasonable care is somewhat different. If you believe that your accident would not have happened if the roads were better maintained, it may be worth it to consider bringing suit against the Florida Department of Transportation or whichever entity owns the roads your accident occurred upon; however, beware that the state of Florida does have what is referred to as sovereign immunity, meaning that in some instances, the state cannot be sued. Municipalities have an obligation to maintain their roads even in bad weather, and if you believe this did not happen, it may be an alternative defendant from whom you may try and seek compensation for your medical bills.
Can A Tampa Auto Accident Lawyer Help You?
While drivers do have that duty to exercise reasonable care toward the other motorists on the road, what constitutes “reasonable care” will be very different in bad weather than it might be in sunny weather. If you have questions about your bad weather accident, contacting a Tampa car crash lawyer at the Rinaldo Law Group may be a good idea. We are happy to try and put our experiences to work for you. Contact us today at 813-831-9999 for a free consultation.