Inclement Weather and Car Accident Lawsuits

During the colder months of the year in New York, inclement weather can result in a significant number of auto accidents across the state. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), more than 70% of the roads in the country exist in regions where snowfall occurs annually, and the FHWA emphasizes that snow and ice can greatly increase the possibility of a collision. Indeed, as the FHWA explains, “snow and ice reduce pavement friction and vehicle maneuverability, causing slower speeds, reduced road capacity, and increased crash risk.” Moreover, in conditions with heavy snow and sleet, visibility can be significantly reduced, and some highway lanes or roads can even be obstructed due to the accumulation of snow.


When inclement weather occurs in the winter, can an injury victim in a collision ever file a lawsuit against another party? Or are the bad weather conditions always the sole cause of the crash? Generally speaking, although more accidents do occur during inclement weather, many of those collisions still result from another motorist’s negligence, and that driver may be liable for serious injuries.


Many Collisions in Inclement Weather Involve Negligent Motorists


While snowfall, sleet, and ice can make for dangerous driving conditions, many crashes that happen in these conditions occur because of negligent motorists. To be clear, even if a motorist is traveling at the posted speed limit, driving at that speed in heavy snowfall actually may be careless, and that motorist may be responsible for injuries that occur in an accident. Inclement weather also requires longer stopping times, and thus there is a need to leave a greater following distance between vehicles. A driver’s failure to drive safely based on the conditions could mean that the motorist is liable.


You May be Able to File a Lawsuit if You Have Serious Injuries


Since New York is a no-fault state, you cannot immediately file a lawsuit against a driver who may be responsible for a crash that occurred on a snowy or icy road or highway in New York. Instead, in order to file a lawsuit against that negligent driver, you will need to be able to show that you have a serious enough injury that you meet New York’s “serious injury threshold.” There are many different types of serious injuries that meet the serious injury threshold, and one of our experienced New York auto accident lawyers can evaluate your case to help you determine whether you can file a lawsuit.


If you do not meet the serious injury threshold, you can still seek compensation for your injuries by filing an auto insurance claim through your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.


Contact Our New York Auto Accident Lawyers


Do you need assistance determining your eligibility to file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver after a collision that occurred in inclement weather? An experienced New York car accident lawyer at our firm can assess your case for you today and can represent you in a claim against a negligent motorist. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC today to learn more about how we can assist you.


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