With the approach of winter, the odds of experiencing a vehicle accident increase. As important as it is to drive safely and prevent these types of accidents, there is always a chance that something will go wrong. At times, it may be the negligence of another driver that causes a crash, even if the road conditions were poor. If that is the case, you likely have a viable personal injury claim.
Winter Weather and Negligence
At the heart of any personal injury claim is the matter of negligence. When on the road, all drivers have a responsibility to take reasonable measures to prevent accidents. If they fail to do so, they are liable for any damage they cause. In cases where the roads are clear and the sun is out, this is pretty easy to pin down. During the winter, however, it can be a little more challenging.
Often, insurance companies may claim that an accident resulted from poor road conditions, implying that the crash was inevitable and that no one was at fault. However, even if there was ice and snow on the road, negligence can still play a role. For instance, most Illinois drivers are aware that winter road conditions require extra caution, so if a driver fails to exercise additional care while on the road, they could be found at fault for an accident.
In addition, the government or road crews may be at fault for poor maintenance of the roads. If excess ice has built up and those responsible for clearing it should have been aware of it, and if that ice made an accident unavoidable, then governing bodies could be held liable.
In the end, it’s a matter of context. Harsher road conditions merit extra caution, and failure to exercise that constitutes negligence, even though those conditions technically make accidents more likely.
Seeking Personal Injury Damages
After a vehicle accident in the winter, it’s important to take adequate steps to solidify your position in the event of injury. The following steps will help you recover what you are owed after a winter vehicle accident:
- Call 911 and seek medical attention for anyone injured
- Get the other driver’s information, including name, phone number, and license plate number
- Obtain photographic evidence, including of the wreck, road conditions, covered signs, etc.
- Get the contact information of any witnesses
- Report the accident to your insurance company, but do not give a recorded statement
- See your doctor—some injuries such as neck or back pain may not manifest right away, and their statement can help your claim
- Contact your lawyer
Gathering evidence of the accident will help prove that your injury was the result of negligence of some kind, either on the part of another driver or as a result of poor road maintenance. The accounts of those who witnessed the accident can also solidify your case.
Additionally, involving an experienced personal injury attorney will make sure you are properly represented. Hard David Carson, LLP, can provide you with the legal counsel and representation you need in the event of a winter vehicle accident.