Americans all over the country are experiencing one of the most brutal winters in recent history. The cold weather brings all kinds of negative consequences, such as power outages, frozen pipes, school closings, and illnesses. Perhaps worst of all, winter storms lead to dangerous roads and countless auto accidents. This year has been no different, with the severe weather leading to thousands of crashes all over the country. Many drivers wonder whether icy roads and difficult weather make any difference when it comes to criminal charges or civil liability stemming from auto accidents. They may not like the answers.
Bad Weather Does Not Excuse Negligence that Leads to Crashes
All drivers have a legal responsibility to drive safely, regardless of the road conditions. When it is snowing or the roads are icy, a responsible driver needs to drive slower and more carefully and sometimes put chains or studded tires on his vehicle. If he does not, and gets into an accident, he can generally be held civilly liable for negligence. Drivers who practice safe winter driving habits are much less likely to get into accidents. Like anything else, the skills required to drive safely in bad weather can only be acquired through practice and experience.
On the other hand, drivers who fail to adjust to winter driving conditions, or who fail to service their cars in order to prepare them for winter, put both themselves and other drivers in danger. If your poor winter driving causes an accident, you probably cannot use the bad weather or icy roads as excuses in court. And if you are in a winter accident due to no fault of your own, you should seek out quality legal representation and attempt to hold the driver who caused the crash liable. We have all seen drivers on the road who have no business operating a car, so it is important to utilize the legal system, including both criminal and civil courts, to hold them accountable.
Winter Car Crash Protocol
If you are involved in a car accident, whether it is your fault or not, there are some steps you should follow to minimize both the physical and legal damage. After the accident, you should generally stay in your car until it is safe to exit. Once you get out of the car, you should exchange personal, registration, and insurance information with the driver of the other vehicle. If any significant property damage or injuries occur, you should report the accident to the authorities. It is also a good idea to take pictures of the vehicles and the accident scene.
What to Do if You Have Been Injured in an Auto Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, whether due to bad weather or otherwise, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. An attorney can review the facts of your case and determine whether you have a viable claim. If so, they can help you seek the compensation you deserve.