Car Accidents in the Snow

Revere, Massachusetts and the greater Boston area get ready for the snow, ice and slush around mid-November and the hazardous driving conditions that accompany it. Although motorists in the Northeast should be used to driving on slippery roads, it is inevitable that many drivers fail to appreciate the risks or to take the proper precautions. As a result, car accidents in the snow and on icy roads occur and result in serious and sometimes fatal accidents.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, about one-quarter of all accidents happen on icy or snowy roadways, accounting for over 116,000 serious injury accidents and around 1,600 fatalities.

How to Avoid Accidents on Slippery Roads

Although many safety experts advise motorists to simply stay home if roads become too hazardous, people still have to drive to get to work, do grocery shopping or for other errands. Still, if you can take alternate transportation, consider using it until the roads are clear.

If you do drive, do so slowly and ignore the impatient motorist behind you who is tailgating you and trying to get around your vehicle. Do not drink and drive at all since combining even a slight impairment with hazardous conditions only greatly increases the chances of causing an accident.

Also, have first aid equipment with you along with some packaged food and bottled water. If you are in an accident, it may take some time for rescue crews to get to you if a major snow storm is hindering their access to you.

Further, keep an extra distance from the car in front of you if there is even a dusting of snow on the road since ice may have blended in with it causing a condition called ‘black ice.”  Remember, that if it is snowing, visibility is greatly reduced and white out conditions can make driving safely all but impossible. If the sun is out, the sunlight reflecting off the snow can blind a motorist and lead to disaster.

Liability for a Car Accident in the Snow

Like any personal injury claim, the burden of proving that another party caused your accident injuries in an accident involving icy roads is on you. All motorists have a duty to use reasonable care and caution when driving, which means following all traffic laws. It also means not driving too fast for the traffic or weather conditions so that even if you may have been driving at or just under the posted speed limit, you can still be ticketed for driving too fast for dangerous conditions. Driving too fast in the winter is considered the major factor in most highway accidents.  If another motorist was driving too fast for the current conditions and lost control because of an icy road surface or could not stop in time and slid into the rear of your car, you may hold that party responsible for you injuries.

Can the city be held liable for your accident for not clearing off the roads or making them safe? Most injury claims against a municipality like Revere or Boston concern pedestrians who slipped and fell on a sidewalk because the private property owner neglected to remove the snow and ice. Although a municipality might be liable for not removing snow and ice from a public walkway under certain conditions, it is more difficult to hold it liable for icy or slippery roads from a snowfall or frigid temperatures.

Damages in a Car Accident Injury Claim

Injuries from dangerous conditions accidents range from relatively minor to catastrophic. These include:

  • Neck and back sprains and strains (whiplash)
  • Broken limbs
  • Rollover accidents resulting in ejections or crush type injuries to the spine
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Spinal injuries
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Internal bleeding
  • Paralysis
  • Death

You can receive compensation from the motorist responsible for your injuries by bringing a claim against the driver’s auto insurance carrier. Compensable damages include:

  • Past and current medical expenses
  • Lost earnings
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Loss of employment benefits
  • Psychological trauma
  • Pain and suffering

Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Accidents

If the liable motorist only possessed the state minimum liability limits of $20,000 per individual and $40,000 per accident for all injured parties, you can still bring a claim under your own auto carrier if you have UIM or underinsured motorist coverage if is more than the liable party’s coverage. For instance, if your claim is worth $100,000 and you recover the other party’s limits of $20,000, and your UIM coverage is $100,000, you can recover up to $60,000 from your own carrier.

Of course, if the other party was not insured, and about 20% of motorists lack any auto liability coverage, you can make an uninsured motorist claim (UM) under your own policy as well so long as you have such coverage.

Consult with Revere lawyer Deborah Gold-Alexander for a free analysis of your auto injury claim. Ms. Gold-Alexander has been representing the interests of injured car accident victims in Revere and the surrounding areas for nearly 30 years and will discuss your legal options and the viability of your claim.

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