Snow & Ice Accidents
New York is a no-fault state. If you’re involved in an accident, you’ll need to turn to your own personal injury protection coverage before you can sue another driver for damages. You might assume that you can’t recover damages if you were involved in a car accident in which snow and ice played a role. However, snow and ice accidents can result in catastrophic or even fatal injuries, and sometimes negligence is involved. Even when weather was also a factor, an at-fault driver who contributed to your collision may be held responsible. A dedicated Syracuse car accident attorney can help you gather evidence and make legal claims against at-fault parties in your case.Snow and Ice Accidents
Snow and ice accidents can involve multiple vehicles. The injuries arising from these crashes may be catastrophic. The resulting investigation may be complicated, particularly with regard to causation. Drivers owe others on the road a duty to drive safely given the weather conditions, and if their failure to drive safely causes an accident, they can be held responsible for the associated losses.Liability
Every driver is supposed to behave with reasonable care in light of road conditions. If a driver loses control of a car and causes a collision with another vehicle, the ice and snow on the road doesn’t necessarily provide a defense. Assuming your injuries meet the threshold to go beyond the no-fault system, in order to show a driver’s liability, you’ll need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) the defendant driver’s duty to use reasonable care, (2) failure to meet the duty to use reasonable care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. An experienced car accident lawyer can review the facts of your case to determine whether you may be able to fulfill these elements.
Many different actions can be considered a breach of the duty to use reasonable care, including speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, tailgating, reckless driving, weaving, and more. A driver who fails to fulfill their duty to use reasonable care and loses control of their car, causing a collision, may be held responsible.
Even driving the speed limit when there is snow or ice on the road may count as a breach of the duty to use reasonable care. The circumstances dictate what’s reasonable, but generally, reasonable drivers know that if it’s snowing or it has been snowing and there is ice, they should drive more slowly than the speed limit. They should also leave more distance between their own car and the car that they’re following since it will take more time to stop, and there is the possibility of their car sliding. Sometimes a driver can be held responsible even when there is black ice on the road; for example, a driver may be responsible because he doesn’t keep his tires maintained or because he fails to use headlights that would have allowed him to see the shininess of the black ice.
A driver’ negligence can also be demonstrated by their failure to take precautionary measures. For example, a driver who fails to keep headlight covers clean, remove ice from the windshield, make sure windshield wipers work, or take accumulated snow off the roof of the car could be held responsible for an accident caused by any of these conditions.
In response to a lawsuit following a snow and ice accident, a defendant may raise a plaintiff’s alleged comparative negligence. New York follows the rule of pure comparative fault as articulated in New York Civil Practice Law and Rules section 1411. When both the plaintiff and defendant have acted negligently, the fact finder will determine each party’s proportion of fault and award damages accordingly.Damages
Damages you may be able to recover if you can establish liability on the part of the defendant driver include amounts for lost enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, medical bills, prescription drugs, replacement services, lost benefits, mental anguish, and diminished earning capacity. The amount of damages available in your case will depend on the nature and severity of your injuries.Consult a Knowledgeable Syracuse Attorney After a Car Accident
If you were harmed in a snow and ice accident in Syracuse, you can talk to a seasoned personal injury lawyer. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents people in Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout Upstate New York, including in Watertown, Binghamton, Canandaigua, Auburn, Cooperstown, Herkimer, Wampsville, Lyons, Elmira, Ithaca, Utica, Lowville, Oswego, and Oneida. Call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.