Although most car accidents are fender benders, millions of people are injured each year in auto accidents with a high percentage taking place during the coldest months. Boston motorists are used to extreme weather conditions so it should come as no surprise that by using their experience and commonsense, they can prevent many car accidents on icy roads. But be aware that though sleet, snow, hail, and icy rain can substantially increase your risk of being in an accident and you are the one being especially cautious, there will always be motorists who are clueless about how to drive on icy roads or who think that the weather is irrelevant to their getting to their destination as quickly as possible.
Tips to Avoid Icy Road Car Accidents
The Boston car accident lawyers at Lovenberg & Associates want you to be safe this winter season. If you use the following tips, you may be able to avoid most accidents that occur during a brutal winter:
Use snow tires or at least tires with deeper treads as they grip the roads more firmly.
Leave earlier than usual so you don’t feel like you have to rush to the office or appointment.
Be sure you have anti-icing fluid in your window washing fluid and that your wipers are operating properly.
Slow down. You don’t have to drive as fast as everyone else.
Always wear a seatbelt.
Have your brakes checked.
Drive more cautiously on bridges as they tend to freeze over first before regular roads.
Do not tailgate since your car will slide on an icy surface if you have to apply the brakes quickly and forcefully.
Consider refraining from any driving if it is sleeting or snowing hard.
Never drive while impaired.
Avoid all cellphone use.
Calm down and avoid road rage.
There will always be knuckleheads who drive fast regardless of the weather or who will cut you off, honk at you, or otherwise engage in reckless driving. Do your best to ignore them and arrive alive.
Liability in Icy Car Accidents
Every motorist has a duty to exercise ordinary care while driving, which simply means that you are to obey the traffic laws and drive responsibly according to road and weather conditions. This means that during adverse weather conditions you must exercise the same degree of care as a reasonable motorist would under similar conditions. For instance, if the speed limit is 65 mph but it is sleeting or heavy snow is causing visibility problems, driving at that speed may be considered too fast for the existing conditions and can expose you to liability for negligent driving. You can only blame the weather for so much, and you are expected to take extra precautions under such conditions.
Another example is if you feel you braked in time but nonetheless slid into the car in front of you. Your assertion that icy road conditions were the actual cause of the accident will likely not excuse you. Sliding at all and running into another vehicle or pedestrian despite driving at a slow speed will expose you to liability in most cases since you probably could have avoided the accident by turning in the direction of the skid, by having traveled at a slower speed before braking or keeping more of a distance between you and the car in front of you, or by having taken other precautions under the circumstances that existed.
Determining liability and causation regarding your injuries can be complicated in a chain accident where multiple cars slide into each other. These occur most often under white-out conditions where visibility is near zero. One car rear-ends another, and a chain reaction ensues where even dozens of cars are involved. If you were the initial car that was struck, you could bring a claim against the first car that struck you or against the motorist who struck the one behind you if it was more forceful and it caused the vehicle behind yours to strike you a second or a third time. All motorists in this scenario should have taken more precautions in avoiding a rear-end accident, but in determining the cause of your injuries it could be claimed that the second impact resulted in your severe neck and/or back injuries. In such cases, an experienced Boston car accident lawyer can unravel the various arguments and claims presented by the insurers for the motorists.
Damages in Icy Road Accidents
Since Massachusetts is a no-fault state, you are entitled to PIP benefits regardless of who was at fault. This includes benefits for medical expenses and lost income for up to $8,000 if you lack medical insurance, which includes receiving 75% of your lost earnings up to that amount. If you have health insurance, then you may collect up to $2,000 and 75% of your lost earnings up to this amount from your own insurer or from the responsible motorist’s carrier.
If your injuries were serious, then you can bring a claim against the liable motorist for additional damages including pain and suffering. Typical damages include:
Past and future medical expenses
Past and future income loss
Diminished quality of life
Permanent impairment or disfigurement
Pain and suffering
Spousal claim for loss of consortium
Retain Lovenberg & Associates
Few car accident claims are clear-cut. Most claimants who handle their own cases recover compensation that is far less than what they could have obtained if they had retained competent legal counsel, even accounting for legal fees.
Retain a Boston car accident lawyer from Lovenberg & Associates and see why our clients return to us for their injury claims and refer their friends and family members. Our attorneys have handled the most complex injury claims and have successfully recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients. Call us today at (617) 973-9950 for an in-depth consultation about your injury claim.