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Does a Driver’s Standard of Care Change in Winter Weather?

Can You Still Be Liable for an Accident, Even If You Were Driving at the Posted Speed Limit?

Does a Driver’s Standard of Care Change in Winter Weather?It’s winter in New Jersey, and that typically means snowy or icy roads. That can make the travel treacherous, often compelling motorists to lower their speeds or allow more distance between their vehicle and the car in front of them. But do you have to take these extra precautions in winter weather? Can you successfully defend a motor vehicle accident claim by arguing that you were travelling at or below the posted speed limit?

The Determination of Liability in New Jersey Personal Injury Claims

In New Jersey, as in all states, personal injury claims (including motor vehicle accident lawsuits) are based on the legal theory of negligence. When determining responsibility in a personal injury claim, the jury will look at the actions of the defendant and compare them to what a “reasonable person” would have done, taking the circumstances into consideration. Accordingly, with a motor vehicle accident on snowy or icy roads, the jury will ask what a “reasonable person” would have done in the same weather conditions. If the jury determines that a “reasonable person” would have driven at a slower speed, or would have allowed more room to come to a stop, the jurors may find the defendant liable. Compliance with posted speed limits may be evidence of reasonable behavior, but the jury will ultimately look at all of the circumstances to determine if the behavior remains reasonable.

Contact Howard D. Popper, P.C.

At Howard D. Popper, P.C., we can help protect your rights. For a free initial consultation to discuss your options after a work-related injury, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787 to set up an appointment. We have offices in Morristown and Newton.

We handle all workers’ compensation claims on a contingent fee basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.