Accident Liability and Inclement Weather
The Federal Highway Administration estimates that over 24% of crashes in the United States occur in snowy or icy conditions, and 15% occur during active snowfall or sleet. Icy roadways are a significant danger to drivers, especially those in Louisiana who have limited experience with these conditions.
Although roadway safety is the responsibility of all drivers, and a reasonable driver knows how to adapt their skills to the changing conditions, the one who hit you may not always be liable for the accident.
Who is Responsible?
Most often, the at-fault driver will be held accountable for crashes, even if caused by inclement weather. However, a third-party could assume some responsibility for not ensuring the roads are properly maintained.
When given sufficient notice, most municipalities will have the roads salted or monitored and inform the public of safety measures being taken. Additionally, in areas where dangerous conditions are more common, construction crews will be advised to design roads with sufficient drainage and reinforcement to account for changing weather conditions. In these circumstances, it could very well be possible to hold a third-party entity accountable for an accident.
Another way that liability could be shifted is if there is a significant pile-up of cars. Snow and ice often cause multi-vehicle collisions where it can be challenging to determine who is ultimately at fault. With this situation, it may be beneficial for you to work with an experienced car accident attorney to ensure your rights are protected.
Reducing Your Probability of a Crash
Driving in snow and ice is a skill that can take a lifetime to master; however, the Louisiana State Police encourage extra caution in these conditions and have provided several tips for safe driving:
- Ensure you have sufficient tread on your tires or have them swapped for all-weather or winter tires.
- If your car begins to skid, don't accelerate. Instead, steer into the skid until the vehicle can be controlled.
- Leave earlier and allow extra time to get to your destination.
- When approaching a stop sign or light, slowly decelerate until you reach a complete stop instead of braking hard.
Ultimately, you should only get behind the wheel if you feel comfortable doing so. When inclement weather conditions are present, it is always advisable to stay home instead of risking a potential accident.
Car Accident? The Chopin Law Firm LLC Can Help
Our New Orleans-based firm is dedicated to helping you hold negligent individuals accountable for causing your injury. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident this winter and sustain an injury, call (504) 475-2429 to get in touch with a member of our team for a free consultation.