In the winter, one of the most common contributing factors to car accidents is the presence of snow or black ice on the road. But if a car accident is caused by snow or black ice on the road, who can be held at fault for the crash and resulting injuries?
Fault for a Snow or Black Ice Accident
Fault for injuries and losses arising from a car accident in which snow or black ice was a contributing factor may depend on other circumstances in the accident. Most importantly, fault will depend on whether the drivers involved in the accident were driving in a careful, safe manner. Drivers have a duty to drive appropriately and safely given road and weather conditions. This can include not speeding or making aggressive maneuvers, which can cause a vehicle to spin out of control.
If you were hit by another driver who was driving unsafely, hit a patch of snow or black ice, and then lost control of their vehicle, you may be entitled to file a claim against that driver or their liability insurance to recover compensation. In addition, under New Jersey law you are required to first turn to your auto insurance provider for personal injury protection coverage to recover compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages from your injuries.
Finally, a state or local government might have liability for a car accident caused by snow or black ice if the roadway was defectively designed or not maintained, which allowed snow and ice to excessively build up on the road.
Where You Might Commonly Encounter Black Ice
Black ice is a phenomenon where moisture freezes in a thin, transparent layer on the road surface. Because it is transparent, black ice is usually difficult for drivers to spot while on the move. Situations where you are more likely to encounter black ice include:
- Bridges and overpasses, since the roadbed is exposed to the air, which allows these road surfaces to free first
- Cold rain, or light rain followed by below-freezing temperatures
- Shaded road surfaces, as black ice can remain on road surfaces not directly exposed to the sun for longer after sunrise.
Tips for Avoiding a Snow or Black Ice Accident
Even all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive vehicles can lose control if they hit a patch of snow or black ice. Tips drivers should follow to help reduce the risk of getting into an accident due to snow or black ice include:
- Slow down, driving a little bit slower than the speed limit if you are driving in conditions where you are likely to encounter black ice
- Increase your following distance, as your vehicle may need greater distance to slow down and come to a stop if the vehicle in front brakes
- Avoid using cruise control because the system may cause your vehicle to suddenly accelerate if a wheel hits a patch of snow or ice and loses traction
- Maintain your tires, preferably switching to winter-rated tires
- Use headlines, even during the daytime, as it can help identify patches of black ice on the road
Contact a Perth Amboy Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car 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 CourtLaw represent clients injured because of car accidents in Hoboken, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, East Orange, 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, 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.