A man lost his life this week in a San Diego car accident when the vehicle in which he was traveling as a passenger spun out of control. Sadly, it is a far too common story. The crash resulted from wet, slippery roads and from a driver who was traveling too fast for the rainy conditions. Most, if not all, licensed drivers have heard about the very real danger of hydroplaning when driving in the rain.
Hydroplaning occurs when oils on the road repel rain water and create a layer of water between the road and a vehicle’s tires. The vehicle loses contact with the road, which makes steering difficult or impossible. It happens most often during the first fifteen to twenty minutes of a rainstorm. Although drivers are aware of the risk, there are always at least a few – and often many – drivers in every rainstorm who ignore the known danger and drive too fast for conditions.
According to an article on the Sign On San Diego website, this is precisely what happened on Interstate 15 early this week. A young Escondido woman was driving a BMW car, and her father was a passenger in the vehicle. According to police, the driver of the BMW was traveling at a higher rate of speed than was safe, given the weather conditions at the time. Police did not specify how fast she was going or whether she was likely exceeding the posted speed limit. The rain caused the BMW to hydroplane, and the vehicle turned sideways across another lane of traffic. A large passenger van collided with the BMW, striking the passenger side door and killing the man riding inside.
Our San Diego car accident lawyer works with victims in Escondido and knows that accidents like these often pose interesting legal questions, especially where the driver’s exact speed before the crash is not known. The legal theory on which a case like this is based is one of negligence. Without getting into the complexities of California negligence law, for a case like this, the biggest question is likely to be whether the driver of the vehicle exercised due care.
One question that Escondido car accident attorneys will be asking is whether the woman driving the BMW was exceeding the speed limit, and if she was, by how much. If her speed is able to be determined, and she is found to have been exceeding the posted speed limit at the time, then negligence would be much easier to prove since the speed limit is essentially a declaration of how fast a driver can safely travel on that road, even in the best of weather conditions. On the other hand, if she was not speeding, she still may have been traveling too fast for the conditions that existed at the time of the accident. In order to make that determination, lawyers would have to look to how fast the other vehicles were traveling, how hard it was raining, and whether there had been any road flooding or other indications of danger.
Many of these observations will come from witnesses to the crash, which is why it is important for drivers who are in the immediate vicinity when a crash occurs to remain on the scene. Even if they did not witness the collision itself, they often still hold vital information. If you are involved in a car accident, always first take care of yourself and the others involved. If you are able, also try to get witnesses to remain until police arrive or, at the very least, to give their names and contact information so that you can get statements before memories begin to fade.
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