Liability for Weather-Related Auto Accidents
Now that winter is officially here, the incidents of injury in motor vehicle accidents will likely increase. According to national statistics, about one in four auto accidents are weather-related, with the vast majority of them occurring in snowy or icy driving conditions. In New Jersey, there are state and local laws that govern winter driving. Your insurance company will be familiar with the laws, so you have to be careful not to take steps that have you admitting liability and losing your right to compensation.
New Jersey Laws Governing Inclement Weather
In New Jersey, after a snowstorm, you are required to clear all ice and snow from your car, not just the snow and ice on your window. Under the current law, if you are spotted by a law enforcement officer driving with a significant amount of snow on your car, you can be pulled over and cited for violating the law. Fines can range from $25 to $1,000, depending on whether you caused any damage or injury. Commercial vehicle drivers must take care to make certain there is no accumulation of snow on the roof of a tractor or trailer, or they also face fines of up to $1,000.
The Need for Greater Caution in Winter Weather
Most motor vehicle accident claims are based on a legal theory of negligence. Under the legal theory of negligence, every person (including people driving in snowy or icy conditions) has a duty at all times to act reasonably. In snowy or icy conditions, where braking distance will likely be increased, and where a car may be more difficult to handle, most people would agree that it would be reasonable to:
- Reduce your speed
- Make certain your windows are clean and that your defroster and windshield wipers are functional before you get on the road
- Check your tires to ensure that you have adequate tread to go through snow or ice
- Minimize the use of cell phones, handheld devices or other distractions
Contact Our Office
To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 973-993-8787 to set up a free initial consultation. We have office locations in Morristown and Newton, but will visit you in your home or the hospital, if necessary.
We take all motor vehicle accident injury claims on a contingency basis. You will not incur legal fees unless attorney Popper recovers compensation for your losses.