When winter weather contributes to a car accident

Southern Illinois may not see too much snow during the winter months, but freezing rain, ice and other adverse weather are still a problem at times. Sadly, too few people adjust their driving habits when the roads are bad due to these conditions, and accidents result. When winter weather contributes to a car accident, the victim or — in the event of fatality — his or her surviving family members may be entitled to seek compensation for any resulting losses.

According to a recently published article, over 1,300 people lose their lives, and nearly 117,000 individuals suffer injuries, in winter weather-related car accidents every year. Those numbers may seem relatively small, considering 70% of roads in the United States are affected by snow, ice, slush and other winter weather conditions, but the truth is one life, one injury is too much. These collisions do not have to happen. Most are highly preventable.

There are a couple of things that drivers can do to ensure their safety and the safety of those with whom they share the road in the winter months. First, they can slow down. Too many people drive too fast in winter weather, causing them to have trouble stopping and increasing their odds of spinning out. Second, they can stay focused. Distracted driving, in any of its forms, causes problems, even when road conditions are ideal; it is certainly an even bigger problem when the roads are bad.

When a car accident occurs and the weather is believed a contributing factor, the driver thought responsible may try to avoid liability. The simple truth is, yes, the weather may not have helped the situation, but the driver’s actions likely did not either. In Illinois, if it is possible to establish driver negligence, the victim or his or her family members may be able to successfully achieve monetary compensation for any damages sustained through negotiations or litigation.