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Proving Liability in New York State Winter Car Crashes

One reality of living in New York State is that in the winter, there can be a significant amount of snow, freezing rain and slush on the roads. According to weather research, since 2004, the Hudson Valley averages about 42” of snowfall a year, and roughly ten snowfall events of over an inch. Those conditions often lead to slip and fall accidents, and they also are a contributing factor to many car crashes.

According to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management & Research:

Car Crashes with “Slippery Pavement” as Contributing Factor (2021):

Dutchess County455 
Orange County628 
Ulster County279 

Since New York is a “no-fault” state, in most minor car crashes, your own insurance company will cover your medical expenses and lost earnings. However, when your injuries exceed the no-fault limits, the question becomes: was the other driver acting negligently? In inclement weather conditions, that question becomes more complicated.

There are many reasons why car crashes can happen. According to the data, most commonly, driver reckless behaviors and/or inattention are the top contributors to crashes. If you’re trying to recover damages resulting from a car crash that are above and beyond the no-fault limits, then the question becomes, “Did the other driver take “reasonable care” to try and prevent injury to other drivers and pedestrians on the road?”

If we look at the top reasons why car crashes happen in the Hudson Valley, we simply must apply them to the conditions at hand at the time of the crash:

  • Was the other driver following too closely, knowing that the slippery conditions would make stopping more difficult?
  • Did the other driver drive at an unsafe speed, knowing that it would be harder to maintain control in the slippery conditions?
  • Did the other driver scrape the off of their windshield before getting in the car?
  • Did the other driver remove accumulated snow from the roof or hood of their car?
  • Did the other driver clean off their headlights, or not use them at all?

Additionally, inclement weather can also exacerbate issues with roadway defects. Perhaps the road or lane was improperly marked, or there was defective design of the road shoulder, with too sharp a turn or too steep a drop-off. In this case, the victim and their personal injury attorney would have to seek damages from the municipality or government that was in charge of maintaining the roads.

There are many possible considerations to make in any personal injury case. When you contact our team of personal injury attorneys based in Kingston, NY and Poughkeepsie, NY, we will consider every option to get you the maximum compensation to recover your damages such as:

  • Medical bills and prescription costs
  • Future expenses for rehabilitation or ongoing care
  • Lost wages or reduction in earning power
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

To schedule a free consultation, give us a call at 845-600-0000.