And how to avoid being in one in the first place
Bad weather will hit our area tonight. We will get snow, freezing rain, and/or sleet for the next few days. Temperatures will stay far below zero so our streets will be very dangerous.
We rarely have this weather in North Texas so people do not know to drive in it. There will be hundreds of car and truck wrecks here. Why?
Drivers will drive too fast. Or they will hit a patch of black ice. Or their brakes won’t work as a light turns to red. Or their windshields and windows will quickly get covered up.
It was almost one year ago when Texas suffered through a massive ice storm. It caused thousands of crashes including the horrendous pile-up on Interstate 35 in Fort Worth that took the lives of six people and injured many others. Many lawsuits are slowly working their way through the court system.
This year’s weather will not be as severe as last year’s so that’s good news. Here is an update of what to expect.
If you are in an icy roads accident, what should you do? And better yet, how can you escape one in the first place?
What you should do after being in a car or truck wreck
If you are in any crash, there are specific steps you should take.
Here are 10 tips that will help: https://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/in-a-texas-icy-road-accident-here-is-what-to-do-next/
You need to be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and other damages. But first, liability (fault) must be determined.
After you have sought emergency medical treatment, you should call a personal injury lawyer for advice on how to proceed. Any motor vehicle crash case can be difficult and these bad weather cases are even harder to resolve without professional assistance. And the first call or meeting is free so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
How fault is determined
In every motor vehicle crash, the first issue that must be decided is liability. Which driver – or drivers – are to blame? Did any other conditions cause or contribute to the crash?
If you add snow, sleet, ice, and snow to the usual evaluation, these cases are even more complicated. The fault system must slow down to consider this new information.
Drivers are always required to operate their vehicles safely, even in bad weather.
Do slippery roads and poor visibility get a driver off the hook?
That depends on many factors. They include the road conditions, speeds, lookouts, uses of brakes, mirrors, lights, and wipers, vehicles involved, tires and brakes maintenance, traffic conditions, time of day, use of cell phones and distracted driving, and other considerations.
Sometimes the bad roads may have been entirely to blame. However, another driver may have been driving negligently and caused the wreck.
How this works
So if a guy in a Ford 150 with limited traction is speeding at 50 miles per hour through a residential neighborhood and hits you at a complete stop, he is obviously at fault.
But if he says he was only driving 20 miles per hour and you are approaching in the other direction or he was tailgating you, the case changes.
To defeat liability (and not pay out any money or minimize that amount), legal defenses like comparative negligence, sudden emergency, unavoidable accident, and Act of God are often argued by the other driver’s insurance company and its lawyers.
Apportioning fault can be difficult even when the roads are dry.
Attorneys and insurance companies study witness statements, police reports, photographs, video cameras, and scene investigations. Then they decide how fault should be allocated.
Sometimes there can be a split decision. Driver A can be found to be 75% and B can be held 25% liable, for example, and the damages are shared between the two companies. That means that Driver B loses 30% of his or her damages under our state’s comparative fault system.
If an agreement is not reached, a lawsuit will be filed and a jury will determine fault.
Tips to drive safely on icy roads
The best way? That’s easy – don’t drive. Why risk being in a collision?
But if you must go somewhere:
- Inspect your vehicle before you leave. Make sure your tires are inflated properly and have good tread. Confirm that all safety equipment is working, you have enough gas, and that your phone is charged. Bring an emergency kit. Be prepared.
- Drive extremely cautiously. Do not rely on the usual speed limit signs.
- Leave at least eight seconds between you and the vehicles in front.
- Stop as few times as safely possible. Start slowing down earlier to give yourself plenty of time, especially as you approach intersections. Accelerate slowly.
- If you hit a patch of ice, your wheels will spin out so do not slam on your brakes. Steer slowly into the direction of where you are sliding, then release the turn when the skid is corrected.
- Avoid hills and roads with sharp turns.
- Avoid interstates.
- Do not drive at night.
- Do not drive distracted.
- Tell your family or a friend your itinerary and ETA and stay in touch.
Here are more suggestions from AAA: https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/driving-advice/winter-driving-tips/
We can help you
Being in a winter storm collision when the temperatures are below freezing is a miserable experience. We certainly hope this does not happen to you or someone you know.
If it has, the key to winning your claim and being reimbursed for your damages is hiring a good personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The quicker that an investigation can be conducted, you can be treated by medical professionals and heal, and your case can be presented to the other driver’s insurance company, the better.
Berenson Injury Law has handled thousands of cases over 40-plus years. We are finalizing one where a young man was injured when his driver was speeding in Dallas on the last night of February’s storm, lost control on Interstate 35 after midnight, and slammed into a pole.
If you would like more information about us, check out our website. Some of our case results can be found here.
Please call us at 888-801-8585 or click here to chat with us. We will give you the information you need at no cost in our first meeting so you can decide how you want to proceed.