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Can I File a Lawsuit if I’m Involved in an Accident Due to Snow or Ice on a Street?

February 3, 2020

Wintry roads wreak havoc on normal activities. You’re driving to work and another driver slides through an intersection and into your car. You’re crossing the street while walking your dog, but you slip on ice and break a rib in the fall. Those are examples of the way people are injured on icy or snowy streets. You’re not expecting to be injured when you leave your home. When you are and it’s due to road conditions, it’s frustrating. You could miss weeks of work and have several medical bills. Can you sue? Where do you even start?

Road Rules When Driving in Colorado

In most car accidents on snowy roads, your or the other driver’s auto insurance will pay for the replacement or repairs to your vehicle, medical bills to a certain cap, loss of income, and personal property. If another driver caused the crash and doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for your losses or you feel the settlement offer isn’t enough, you have the right to refuse that offer and file a lawsuit.

During a severe winter storm, the Passenger Vehicle Chain Law is implemented to try to keep cars on snowy or icy state highways. You can be fined for blocking a roadway or not having chains or other devices, such as four-wheel drive and winter tires, that help with traction. If you knew Code 16 was implemented and didn’t have chains on or other items that help with traction, you can be found partially at fault, even if another driver ran into you.

That covers accidents on main roads like highways and interstates. Smaller streets and roadways are often maintained by the town where the accident happened. For example, Denver has more than 2,000 miles of streets to maintain during and after a storm. It can take time for the 68 large plows and 36 smaller plows to get every part of the city. Residential streets are typically only maintained from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. Plus, residential streets are not treated with de-icing products. People need to use care when driving on snowy, icy, and slushy roads. If you had an accident because you were speeding on wintry roads, it’s unlikely you’d win a lawsuit. You were not driving safely given the road conditions.

If the storm happened days ago and the roads have still not been plowed, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. One would expect crews to have been out and plowed roads days later. In most cases, it’s the city or country you’re suing. You need to be aware that there is a shorter deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit against a government entity.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Just as car accidents can be your fault, so can a slip and fall. If you’re outside walking across a snowy or icy road, you need to have appropriate boots or shoes. Ice cleats help with traction on an icy street. If you’re wearing a pair of shoes with little tread, you could be found at fault. You haven’t dressed appropriately for the conditions.

If you had on winter boots with a good tread and slip and fall, it’s a little clearer that your choice of footwear wasn’t to blame. If it happened during the hours when a city says they will not plow residential areas, you may still not be able to sue for your medical expenses or loss of income.

Say a week has passed since the storm and the street is still glare ice. At that point, the city or town is neglecting its duty to make the roadways safe for the residents. You’d have a valid complaint that a lawyer may be willing to help you with.

There’s really only one way to know for sure. You need to talk to an attorney who specializes in car accidents and slip and fall accidents. Jordan Law is an award-winning law firm you can trust in for expert advice.

Before you decide it’s pointless as weather happens, talk to a Denver personal injury attorney. After an accident on ice or snow, be it a car accident or a slip and fall, your medical costs and loss of work may impact your financial well-being. Depending on the situation, you may have a valid complaint. The attorneys at Jordan Law – Trial Lawyers for Justice – are happy to discuss your incident and inform you of your rights. Call us for a 24/7 free consultation.

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