Whenever it snows, one unfortunate side effect is that there are many more car accidents. In Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia, we are fortunate to have a pretty short winter. We usually do not get too much snow, and when we do, the accumulation tends to be small. However, when it does snow, it seems that the drivers on our streets are less experienced in how to manage their vehicles. Whether it be identifying black ice, being more attentive to large trucks and the increased chance of a DC trucking accident, or simply paying attention in decreased visibility, Metro area drivers seem to have a learning curve. Accordingly, a lot of accidents do occur!
When there is a car accident during a snowstorm, there are some special considerations that must be evaluated. Let’s take a quick look at an example to see how a car accident in snow may be different than the same accident without the snow. One driver, Danny the defendant, strikes another driver, Paul the plaintiff. Paul was stopped at a traffic light, and was struck by Danny. Paul suffered injuries as a result. If this accident occurred on dry pavement, in most situations Danny would clearly be at fault. However, if the accident occurs during a snowstorm, things may be different. During a snowstorm, the question of whether one party is negligent is essentially whether that party acted reasonably under the circumstances. Did Danny drive properly given the snow conditions? Was he driving cautiously, but still lost control of his vehicle? Did he act improperly, or did the accident just occur?
These are all questions that must be answered before determining whether there is negligence. The same case on dry pavement becomes much more difficult when it occurs on snow. Some of these cases also end up in litigation, with interrogatories, discovery, and even depositions with court reporters. Each state differs in how negligence is proven, but as a general statement, an injured person must provide that (a) the defendant acted negligently, and (b) that the negligence caused the injuries. Car accidents in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia also have special rules of law, so if you’ve been injured you should find an injury lawyer right away. The car accident lawyers at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. offer a free consultation on your case.