Many vehicle accidents happen during heavy rain or snow. When ice coats the roadway, it’s almost inevitable some kind of accident will happen. If a driver travels no faster than the posted speed limit, they can still get a ticket for speeding. If the person also caused an accident and injuries, this negligent act can be grounds for a lawsuit by the crash’s victims.
Kentucky’s speeding law states in part:
“An operator of a vehicle upon a highway shall not drive at a greater speed than is reasonable and prudent, having regard for the traffic and for the condition and use of the highway.”
This is commonly referred to as “going too fast for conditions.” Speed limits are meant for ideal conditions. Technically whenever conditions are less than ideal (it’s dark, snowing, or the road’s wet), a vehicle moving at the posted speed limit is going too fast.
It’s Negligent to Drive at a Greater Speed Than What’s Reasonable and Prudent
As part of an accident investigation, if the conditions were bad, a driver going faster than what’s “reasonable and prudent” can be ticketed by law enforcement. That citation could be a big help in building a negligence case against that driver if that poor decision resulted in a crash that caused your injuries.
What is negligence? It’s the legal basis of most accident claims. Insurance companies will cover negligence claims against policyholders and provide them with a legal defense. These companies are obligated to cover risks spelled out in their policies up to the policy limit amount.
To prove negligence, you need to show:
- The defendant (the party sued) owed the plaintiff (you, the one filing the lawsuit) a legal obligation or duty (to do or not do something under the circumstances, like drive at a “reasonable and prudent speed” given the conditions)
- The defendant failed duty or obligation
- That breach or failure was the factual and legal (or proximate) cause of the crash and your injuries. Because the road was slick with water/snow/ice and the defendant was traveling the posted speed limit, lost control of his car, crashed into yours, causing your injuries
- The defendant must compensate you for the harm done under Kentucky law
If the insurance company’s investigation finds you were negligent in some way and it contributed to the accident, they will try to assess how much blame you deserve and attempt to reduce your award to reflect that.
Speeding Tickets and “Negligence Per Se”
It would be “negligence per se” (the driver’s at fault for the consequences of breaking the law) if the driver were ticketed and found guilty. They may have contested the ticket and lost or admitted guilt by paying it. If that’s the case, the only thing left to be decided is how much the defendant’s insurance company will pay you.
There need not be a ticket to have a winning case. Our investigation could show the road conditions, how hazardous they were, what a safe speed would be, and the fact that the driver was going faster than that. We would also show how their vehicle hit yours and how that caused your injuries.
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident in Kentucky and Need an Attorney?
Were you injured in a car accident in bad weather by a driver going too fast? Call The Fleck Firm to schedule a free consultation at (270) 446-7000. We’ll talk about the accident, your injuries, the law, and your best options to proceed. Insurance companies have lawyers. You should have one too.