Driving in winter storms is dangerous, but sometimes unavoidable. If you are injured in a car accident during a snowstorm, your injuries may entitle you to compensation for your lost work, missed wages, medical expenses, as well as general pain and suffering. Filing a personal injury claim can help ensure that you are awarded the damages that you are owed.
If you are injured in car accident that took place during a snowstorm, you may feel that it is not your fault or the other driver’s fault, but slippery roads and bad conditions that are to blame. On the other hand, when you file a claim with an insurance company, they will most likely maintain that it is still your responsibility to take extra precautions when driving in hazardous conditions.
Although legal charges may be waived due to the snowy conditions, insurance companies will still determine who is at fault for the accident, whether it is you, the other driver, or both of you. For instance, you may have not been taking extra precautions while driving in a storm, which caused you to roll through an intersection and hit another car, meaning you would be found at fault. Perhaps the other driver could have not been driving carefully and hit you, meaning they would be at fault. Or you both could’ve equally lost control of your vehicles while sliding around on the snowy roads and hit each other, which would mean you share fault in the accident no matter how many extra driving precautions you both had taken.
Depending on where the accident took place, your claim will be affected based on who is found at fault. For instance, you could be in a state that uses the no fault rule, which means that regardless of who is at fault for an accident, your own insurance company will pay your damages for a personal injury claim. Fault auto insurance means that the driver found at fault for the accident is responsible for compensating the injured party. There are also other variations of these rules by location.
All of the details and circumstances surrounding the accident, including the conditions of the road and the weather at the time of the snowstorm, will be thoroughly reviewed to determine the fault for the accident. Who is found at fault will affect the outcome of your claim, whether or not you receive compensation, and how much money you will receive.
Much of the country experiences colder temperatures and snow during the winter months. However, where you are located does have an impact on the amount of snow that you can expect to accumulate during the winter snows. The U.S. average is 28 inches – total – of snow per year, but not everywhere gets that much.
As an example, in the South, such as in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia, there could be an average of anywhere from 7 to 14 inches of snow. But, in the northern states, such as Michigan and Ohio, there could be more snow, closer to that 28 inches that is the average.
As an example, a foot of snow is expected in February in Maine. But in Florida, there will not be any snow. Drivers who live in states where there is more annual snowfall are more accustomed to driving in the snow. For example, school may be in session in Ohio where there are 6 inches of snow on the ground, but in Tennessee classes may be canceled if there are 2 to 3 inches of snow on the ground.
The Natural Accumulation Law
The Natural Accumulation Law is observed in some states. This law could relieve property owners from liability in connection with accidents. Using this approach, you consider what is reasonable of the landowner to remove and what is reasonable for the person on those premises to expect depending on the weather and location.
Of course, this may vary depending on where the slip and fall accident occurred. And as previously mentioned with the weather predictions, what is reasonable in Minnesota or Massachusetts isn’t the same as reasonable in northern Alabama or South Carolina.
What Damages Can Occur In a Snow Accident
When you are involved in an accident in the snow, multiple damages could result. Of course, your vehicle will suffer damages. You will want to recover compensation to fix your car. You will also want to ask to be compensated for any tow bills and rental cars while your vehicle is inoperable.
Also, you could suffer injuries. If that is the case, you may have medical expenses. Add up all your medical costs, including physician visits, hospital bills, surgery, tests and laboratory costs, physical therapy, medical devices, prescriptions, and so forth.
You will most likely have lost wages because of your inability to work while you are recovering from your injuries. These costs can add up quickly.
If you will miss more work in the future, you will need to make sure you ask for compensation for your future loss of earnings. If there were medical bills, you can also claim pain and suffering. You may suffer from anxiety and depression, so you will want to file a claim for mental anguish as well. If your injuries left scars or long-term disabilities, you can claim permanent scarring and disfigurement.
Factors Taken Into Consideration
Several things are taken into consideration with the weather. These factors include the speed of the vehicles, if traffic laws were being adhered to, and when and where the crash took place.
These factors will also help determine the severity of the damages and how they correlate to the weather conditions and/or the negligence of the driver. Of course, the road conditions are taken into consideration.
Some damages that your vehicle may suffer during the crash in the snow include dented side panels, damage to the car body, broken windows, a broken windshield, broken mirrors, mechanical damage – such as damage to the engine and/or transmission, and broken lights.
You should have your vehicle inspected by an auto mechanic after the accident. A mechanic will be able to notice things and catch problems that you may not realize right away. When the mechanic inspects your vehicle and prepares an estimate, he or she will be able to provide a complete, detailed listing of the damages that your car suffered. That way, you will be able to provide an itemized list of the cost of repairing your vehicle.
These damages will be added up to calculate your property damages that you ask for in the personal injury claim. You will want to be sure that all your damages are included, so you can get compensated for all your losses.
You will want to make sure you hold the proper party liable for the damages that he or she caused in the crash. Documentation is the key to a successful accident injury claim after a crash in a snowstorm.
How An Attorney Can Help Prove Fault
If you are injured in an accident in a snowstorm, it can be difficult to prove fault. You should enlist the help of an accident injury attorney who handles car crash cases in your state.
An accident injury attorney is experienced and has extensive training, so he or she will know what to look for and what supporting documentation is required. A lawyer will know the best ways to approach a claim to win a personal injury case.
If you are partly to blame for the accident, your attorney may be able to gather enough evidence to show that you aren’t as much to blame as initially believed. Your lawyer will work to minimize the degree of fault that you may be held responsible for. Your attorney will not require that you pay for his or her services upfront or before receiving a settlement.
Instead, you will not need to pay for your lawyer's services and legal assistance until your claim has been won and you recover compensation through a judgment or a settlement. At that time, your lawyer will receive the agreed amount of the settlement. The other driver’s insurance company will most likely have legal representation looking out for them, so make sure you have the help that you need looking out for you and your interests.
Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share the details of your case with an accident injury lawyer.
Seeking Help From a Lawyer
Filing a personal injury claim can be a complicated and lengthy process. If your claim is rejected or you are found at fault for the accident, there are still options available to you. Besides filing an appeal, retaining a personal injury lawyer can help you in making sure your claim is successful. A lawyer can ensure that your claim is filed in the correct way and that you determine the correct amount of damages owed. They can also help you negotiate with the insurance company through which you are filing a claim.