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Liability for Motor Vehicle Accidents on Flooded Roads During Heavy Rain

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2019 | Personal Injury

As the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) has reopened a stretch of southbound Interstate 29 into Council Bluffs after the third round of flooding, it is time to discuss a driver’s liability for car accidents that occur during flooding.

As areas north of Council Bluffs remain flooded and inaccessible for motor vehicles, motorists across Iowa are wondering how fault is determined in motor vehicle accidents on flooded roads and highways during heavy rain, hurricane, or other adverse weather conditions.

Sadly, flooding is the most common type of natural disaster, accounting for over 40% of all acts of God across the world, according to Flood Safety.

If you were in a car crash during heavy rain on I-29 or other flooded roads or highways, speak with a Council Bluffs motor vehicle accident attorney at Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP.

I-29 into Council Bluffs Reopened After Massive Flooding

Recently, southbound I-29 from Crescent to Council Bluffs was reopened to motorists, but northbound lanes remained closed. The reopening of the stretch of the highway comes after the roads were closed last week due to flooding in the area.

The news comes amid the KCRG report that a semi-truck got stuck under a bridge on Old Lincoln Highway in Council Bluffs when looking for ways around the closures.

The newly reopened I-29 is intended to allow motor vehicles to get out of Crescent as well as provide an interstate detour for truck drivers who found themselves stuck on Old Lincoln Highway.

Why You Shouldn’t Drive Through Flooded Roadways

According to Flood Safety, more than half of all drownings during flooding are vehicle-related. Yes, one of the worst places to be during flooding is your vehicle.

During hurricanes and heavy rains, flash floods can develop quite quickly, creating rises in water that spill over to dry land. The speed and unpredictable nature of flash floods can lead to disastrous consequences and cause auto accidents.

According to Flood Safety, most cars float and can be swept up in water that is 18 to 24 inches deep. Attempting to drive through flooded roadways can be a risky endeavor, as steering your vehicle in adverse weather conditions increases the likelihood of collisions.

Liability for Car Accidents During Large Floods

If you or another motorist hydroplaned and a car crash occurred, you may be wondering whether you can get compensated for your injuries.

More often than not, motorists who sustained injuries in flood-related car accidents are entitled to compensation by filing a personal injury claim. However, because floods are a natural disaster, not all flood-related crashes are someone’s fault.

Thus, if your vehicle slides uncontrollably and you end up slamming into another car, you may not be considered negligent. However, if the other party can prove that you failed to take special precautions while operating the vehicle in poor weather conditions (e.g., you failed to keep a safe distance or exceeded the speed limit), you may be held liable for the resulting harm.

Speak with a Council Bluffs motor vehicle accident attorney from Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP to establish fault in your particular case. We are one of few Iowa-based law firms with more than 100 years of combined experience. Call at 712-309-3738 to schedule a free consultation.