4 Mistakes Attorneys Make When Working on a Weather-Related Case

by Kayla Travis, Sales & Marketing Associate

Compliance rules and law regulation policy concept on virtual screen.Working on a weather-related case can feel overwhelming. Oftentimes, there are many factors to consider in a case such as precipitation timing, hourly temperatures, peak wind gust, or even the angle of the sun at a specific time and location. However, when working on a weather-related case that may seem cut and dry on the surface, it’s common for attorneys to miss important elements related to the case that would help build their case strategy.  

For example, in a slip and fall case, an attorney may be able to look online to see if it had snowed on the day of the incident, near the location in question. However, they may not be able to find information about pre-existing snow and ice cover on the ground that day, and how long it had been there. This information would be extremely beneficial to their case, since the person that fell may have slipped on pre-existing ice cover that had been there for a few days. A meteorologist has the knowledge and experience to find that information and interpret it properlyA weather expert can help you avoid costly and lengthy mistakes by providing you with answers early on. In addition to leaving out important factors in a weather-related case, here are four common mistakes attorneys make when working on their weather-related cases: 

Getting An Expert Involved Too Late 

In many cases, we receive phone calls from panicked attorneys who need a last-minute expert opinion because their case is about to go to trial. These calls may be a result of an attorney trying to interpret free weather data on their own, but not fully understanding it. Or, oftentimes, clients will also believe they can save a lot of money by not retaining a weather expert and utilize the tools and weather data available online instead. In most cases, spending the money on a weather expert early on ensures that you save time; aren’t putting your case strategy or reputation at risk; and that you fully understand the weather facts of your case. 

Using Free Weather Data Online 

Many attorneys will feel like they can save a lot of money by utilizing the free weather data available online for their weather-related cases. While there is a ton of free data available, it’s risky and not always reliable. Not all of the data online is accurate data – even government certified data can sometimes contain inaccuracies. Also, you could spend hours looking for the data that best supports your case strategy given the vast amount available online. However, you could potentially leave out important information that could benefit your case, as previously mentioned. Luckily, our weather experts have all of the answers you need for your weather-related cases. Learn more about the risks associated with using free historical weather data by reading this article.  

Using Certified Weather Data  

When you order certified weather data, you’re receiving data from a nearby reporting station, not for the exact location in question. While this is needed if you are making a motion or heading for trial, it’s not beneficial when you want to find out what weather was like at the specific loss location. A nearby reporting station could be more than 30 miles away, where the weather conditions could have been much different than they were at the site of loss. When you work with a weather expert and receive a detailed weather report, you’ll receive site-specific information that accurately represents what happened at the location in question. Plus, when you have accurate, site-specific data you can feel confident about the outcome of your case. 

Thinking “the Weather is the Weather” 

If an attorney contacts us for help on a case that we’ve previously worked on for another client, we have to refuse the order due to a conflict of interest. Some people may question why that is if “the weather is the weather regardless.” Weather experts’ professional opinions CAN differ from one another. In fact, we have come across instances where a meteorologist has left out a key piece of data, used data from non-certifiable sites, and more. Therefore, we’re often asked to review the reports of weather experts working for the other side of a case. The differences in opinions can oftentimes be enough to change a conclusion for a case significantly. By contacting a weather expert early on in a case, it eliminates the possibility that we will not be able to assist you with your weather-related case.

Give CompuWeather a call at (845) 227-8500. Speak with our Certified Consulting Meteorologists and see how their expertise can add value to your legal case or claim.