Can Environmental Factors Affect My Car Accident Claim?

Posted in Car accidents on July 20, 2022

The weather in Omaha is not always ideal for road travel. Sudden summer storms or winter freezes can make it too dangerous for drivers to be on the road. Other environmental conditions, such as a poorly maintained roadway, potholes or faulty traffic lights, can also cause car accidents. If an environmental factor is partially or wholly to blame for your recent car accident in Nebraska, find out how this might affect your claim.

Common Environmental-Related Factors Connected to Nebraska Car Accidents

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The majority of car accidents in Nebraska are caused by driver errors, such as speeding and distracted driving. However, a percentage can be traced back to factors outside of the vehicle, such as dangerous environmental conditions. Environmental factors can refer to anything in the driver’s setting or surroundings that caused or contributed to the crash. Common examples include:

  • Construction zone
  • Crossing animals
  • Fallen power lines
  • Fog
  • Glare from the sun
  • Heavy traffic
  • Ice
  • Lightning
  • Objects in the road
  • Obstructed views
  • Rainstorms
  • Road defects
  • Sleet or hail
  • Snow
  • Storm debris

Environmental factors can be grouped into the four main categories of weather, road conditions, traffic conditions and road infrastructure. If any of these environmental factors cause or contribute to a motor vehicle collision, it will get brought up during an insurance claim – often in an effort by the insurance company to avoid a payout. If your car accident case involves an environmental condition, be prepared to navigate this complication.

Human Error and Environmental Factors

Many car accident cases involving dangerous environmental conditions do not only involve the environmental factor. They also involve the blame of one or more drivers – such as a driver who did not reduce his or her speed in wet conditions or a driver who failed to avoid a highly visible pothole. This can lead to that driver being held at least partially responsible for the car accident. 

When fault for a car accident is divided between multiple parties, such as a motor vehicle driver and a dangerous road condition, this can reduce the liability of the driver. This means that the driver’s insurance company will be responsible for a smaller percentage of the victim’s medical bills and property damage. However, this rule also makes it possible to file a car insurance claim against a driver even if environmental conditions contributed to your crash.

Environmental Factors Alone

Some car accidents are entirely caused by an environmental factor, such as a pothole that causes a tire blowout and rollover accident. While you may assume that you cannot hold anyone responsible for a crash purely caused by a dangerous environment, this is not always the case. If a road defect or dangerous road infrastructure contributed to your accident, you may be able to sue the government that should have ensured the safety of the road’s design and maintenance.

If an insurance company believes that your car accident was caused by an act of God – such as a bad storm – and that no one is to blame, your only option for making a financial recovery is a first-party claim. To receive compensation from your own insurance provider, you must have purchased optional types of insurance in Nebraska, such as comprehensive insurance. This will cover repairs to your vehicle from any cause, including bad weather or an animal.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

Insurance companies are notorious for using tricks and bad-faith tactics to avoid large payouts. If you’re struggling to obtain the financial compensation that you deserve after a car accident that involves environmental factors, contact a car accident attorney in Omaha for assistance. An attorney can help you combat insurance company tactics and protect your rights if the insurer is trying to blame your accident on something other than its policyholder’s negligence.