Can I File a Claim for an Accident Caused by Black Ice?
As we move into winter, the increasingly colder weather means a greater risk for the formation of black ice. Black ice normally refers to a sheet of ice on the road so thin it becomes transparent and difficult to notice while driving along. However, black ice still presents a serious driving hazard, with the ability to cause you to lose control of your vehicle and get into an accident.
If you are injured in an accident involving black ice, you may wonder whether you are entitled to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your damages.
How Black Ice Forms
Black ice forms when water freezes on a road surface, creating a thin layer of slippery ice that is difficult to see. The water for black ice can come from rainfall that freezes overnight, or from snowmelt that refreezes on the road surface. Black ice can form and remain even if conditions are clear and dry. Black ice can also form under snow on the road, which can lead to a situation where the tires of your vehicle cut through snow on the road and lose traction on black ice underneath.
Read more: 5 Potentially Liable Parties After a Car Crash
Tips for Avoiding Accidents Caused by Black Ice
A few tips for avoiding black ice auto accidents include:
- Take care when driving on bridges and overpasses; because they are surrounded by the air, their road surfaces can freeze much more quickly than a road surface on solid land
- Stay in one lane, since changing lanes can increase the risk of hitting patches of black ice that form between lanes (since cars driving over the lane can keep the road surface warm enough to prevent black ice)
- Turn, accelerate, and brake slowly to avoid losing traction on black ice; be sure to adjust your speed and leave extra distance to the vehicle in front of you
- Keep an eye out for brake lights, hazard lights, fishtailing or sideways, all of which may indicate the presence of black ice
- If you notice you are about to drive over black ice, try to drive over it as carefully as you can; braking or changing direction can increase the chances your vehicle loses traction
- If you have to choose between driving over ice and driving over snow, snow will always give your tires better traction
- Always make sure you are driving on winter tires; if you live in an area with constant snow and ice on the roads, consider using studded tires if legal
- If possible, consider postponing your departure until later in the morning when black ice will have had a chance to melt
Read more: What Should I Do if I’m in a Car Accident and Both of Us Are Underinsured?
Filing a Personal Injury Claim after an Accident Caused by Black Ice
Unfortunately, in some cases a spin-out accident caused by black ice may simply be a freak occurrence. However, black ice is sometimes allowed to form due to negligent road maintenance performed by the government on public roads, or on private roads and in parking lots owned by private entities, such as in a housing development or in a shopping mall. When that occurs, you may be entitled to pursue a personal injury claim based on negligence to recover compensation for the injuries and damages you’ve incurred as a result of your accident caused by a patch of black ice.
If you are hit by another vehicle that spins out on black ice, you may also be entitled to pursue a personal injury claim against that driver if he or she was negligent in traversing the black ice.
Read more: Do I Have a Car Accident Claim?
Contact a Perth Amboy Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a motor vehicle accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Karim Arzadi Law Office represent clients injured because of car accidents in Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 442-5900 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 163 Market St., Perth Amboy, NJ 08861, as well as offices in New Brunswick, Roselle, East Orange, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Linden, Newark, Paterson, South Amboy, and Trenton.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.