How Weatherproof is Your Case Strategy?

Steve Roberts, CCM, Forensic Weather Expert

Clients often approach forensic meteorologists after reviewing weather data retrieved from the internet and developing their own interpretation of the conditions on the date of an incident.  Many times, the attorney’s interpretation of the weather is inaccurate.  Those inaccuracies end up being case-critical, flipping their strategy upside down. 

For example, a defense attorney did some internet research on their own for a slip and fall case.  They determined there was a significant snowstorm occurring at the time of the alleged fall.  After presenting their conclusions to the forensic meteorologist, the attorney asked for an expert affidavit in support of their “storm-in-progress” Summary Judgement Motion. 

The weather expert conducted a forensic analysis using official weather records and credible tools and found that the attorney was correct in identifying that a snowstorm was in progress at the time of the incident.  However, after reviewing deposition transcripts of the involved parties, the expert discovered that the plaintiff  described the condition of the ground they slipped on as a layer of solid and clear ice underneath several inches of snow.  

The temperature was well below freezing during the storm.  In addition, all the precipitation from the storm in progress was in the form of snow.  Therefore, the ice under the snow had to have formed prior to the storm.  With consideration to these facts, it became evident that the “storm-in-progress” defense was a much less effective case strategy than the attorney had initially hoped.  

The above excerpt has been adapted from a CompuWeather blog post with permission.  

Upcoming Webinar – “Take Your Case by Storm with Forensic Weather Experts”

What do property damage, slip and falls, and motor vehicle accidents have in common?  Answer: Weather could be a factor in causing these incidents.  Forensic weather consultants and meteorologists are an invaluable tool utilized by legal, insurance, and engineering professionals.  While a fall on black ice may present an obvious need for calling in the experts, there are a many other potential applications that are often less apparent. 

“Take Your Case by Storm with Forensic Weather Experts” will overview when forensic weather investigations should be involved and delve into real-world examples which demonstrate the advantages of retaining a qualified weather expert.  

This complimentary webinar is CLE-accredited for 1.0 hour in Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, with Texas CLE course approval pending.  For additional information and registration, contact Emily Hopf, Marketing Coordinator, at or call 215-659-2010.

Categories: Environmental | Steve Roberts, AMS Certified Consulting Meteorologist | Weather Expert

Tags: Case Strategy | Forensic Meteorologist | Forensic Meteorology | Ice | Premise Liability | Property Management | Slip Trip and Fall | Winter Storm


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