Winter Weather and Car Accidents in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia
In the Mid-Atlantic region, including Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia, drivers are no strangers to winter weather – ice, snow, sleet, freezing rain, and everything in between can cover the roads during the winter, making them roads slippery, while also reducing visibility and impacting driver reaction time. Injuries from accidents in the winter may cause more severe injuries as people may be unable to brake effectively, more cars can end up involved in a single accident, and those that are struck may slide into other lanes of traffic in a way that would not occur in dry or warm weather.
The Statistics Speak Volumes
According to the Federal Highway Administration, approximately 21% of all vehicle crashes in the United States are weather-related, and a significant number occur during winter months. In the Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia areas, the winter season often brings a spike in accidents due to inclement weather conditions. The congested traffic conditions typical to this region exacerbate the problem, making winter driving particularly hazardous.
Legal Liability in Winter Weather Accidents
The law expects all drivers to exercise a certain level of care and adapt to the prevailing road conditions, including bad weather. Failure to do so could result in a driver being deemed negligent and thus liable for any resulting accidents. While many may consider bad weather to be the cause of an accident, this does not absolve drivers from the responsibility of adjusting their driving habits to suit the conditions.
Role of Contributory Negligence
The legal systems of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia differ slightly in their approach to accidents caused during winter weather. Maryland, DC, and VA follow a system of “contributory negligence,” meaning that if you are even slightly at fault for the accident, you may be ineligible to receive any compensation.
Gathering evidence in winter weather-related car accidents is crucial for establishing liability. Timely photographs of the accident scene (showing weather conditions or icy roads), tire marks, and vehicle damage can be important pieces of evidence when claiming injuries. Witness statements can also be invaluable, particularly if they can attest to the driving conditions and the behavior of the involved parties.
Were You Injured on Snowy or Icy Roads?
If you were injured during an accident during winter weather conditions, you may have a claim. While it may be easy to attribute the cause of an accident to “bad weather,” there still may be a driver who is considered at fault. It is important that you have your winter weather accident evaluated by an experienced and qualified attorney who understands the intricacies of fault and negligence in car accidents, especially in the winter. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Dross Berman today for a free consultation!