22nd October 2020
North Dakota winters are always an active time for car accidents, especially when black ice is present.
Winter accidents in North Dakota can be incredibly common. Each year it snows 26-38 inches during the winter months. That’s a lot of snow. With snow, comes rain and ice, making roads harder to drive on. Learning to drive in icy and snowy climates is a learning curve. People who grow up in the North are used to this, but new drivers can be overwhelmed by driving in the snow.
Sometimes, you may not even see the ice on the roads. Good tires and proper driving skills are imperative for driving in North Dakota to ensure that you remain safe and avoid an accident. However, sometimes accidents are unavoidable, especially with black ice on the roads.
What is Black Ice?
Black ice, also referred to as “clear ice”, is a coating of thin ice over asphalt. It’s referred to as black or clear ice as it’s highly transparent, and can be hard to see when driving. Black ice can cause accidents, as many people don’t know how to react when their car hits a patch of black ice, leading to them losing control of the vehicle and causing an accident.
How do you Drive Safe in the Winter?
Being prepared for winter driving is incredibly important, whether you’re a new driver or an experienced one. You’ll want to make sure that your car is prepared for the winter season, meaning that you should test your battery to make sure it’s functioning as the weather drops, make sure your cooling systems are in working order, make sure your all-season tires are in good health or that you’ve switch to winter tires, check your tire pressure, and replace your wiper blades.
Keeping your car in good health when entering into the winter months is incredibly helpful in preventing an accident. If your wiper blades don’t work and you get stuck in a storm, you’re not going to be able to see. If your tires are bare, your car will slide easier. While you can account for your own car and your own safety, you never know what other driver’s on the road will be doing, and how safe their cars will be.
To avoid getting into an accident yourself, you’ll want to avoid using cruise control, steer into the skid if you start to slide, increase your following distance, don’t stop when going uphill, and practice accelerating and decelerating slowly. In many conditions, it’s also important to know when you shouldn’t risk going out at all. In some weather, the smartest decision you can make is to stay home completely.
Does Auto Insurance Cover Winter Accidents?
Getting into a car accident can lead to a mountain of financial debt that you don’t know how to pay off. You may have debt because of medical bills and even debt because of wages you lost while you were out of work. Thankfully, if you’re the only one involved in your accident, most comprehensive and collision policies will cover your accident and provide you with help fixing your car and paying back your medical debt. Comprehensive coverage covers damages caused by natural disasters, collisions with other objects, vandalism, and theft. Collision coverage provides coverage when your car collides with something, such as a tree or guardrail.
So, if you are injured in an accident that doesn’t involve another person, your insurance will likely cover your damages. However, if you’re injured because of someone else’s negligent winter driving, you would want to file a lawsuit against them and their insurance company to recover damages for your injuries.
Who’s Liable for my Black Ice Accident?
Just like with regular car accidents, liability is determined based on negligence. However, while negligence in regular car accidents may look like texting while driving, driving under the influence, or reckless driving, negligence in winter accidents can include:
- Speeding too fast for the weather conditions
- Driving a car that isn’t properly maintained
- Completing an unsafe maneuver
- Not taking proper safety precautions (like using headlights)
Winter accident negligence may include a variety of the above actions. For example, someone may perform an unsafe maneuver while in an improperly maintained vehicle.
What do I do After a Black Ice Accident?
After your black ice accident occurs, you should make sure that everyone involved in the accident is safe. If anyone appears seriously injured, including yourself, you or another party should call 911. If you’re able to stick around, you must gather the contact information of the other driver involved. While it may be cold and you might want to get out of the snow quickly, you’ll also want to take pictures and get a police report filed. In winter accidents, it’s common that your car will need to be towed away. Therefore, you may have some time to kill while you wait.
You’ll also want to make sure that you seek medical attention right away after gathering evidence at the scene of the accident. A delay in medical attention may look suspicious to the at-fault party’s insurance company. Additionally, they could use it as a reason to give you a lower settlement. After receiving medical attention, you should then think about hiring an attorney.
When should I Hire an Attorney?
Hiring an attorney before speaking to any insurance companies is a great idea. When you file a claim with your own insurance company, they’ll get into contact with the insurance company of the at-fault party, who then may reach out to you for a statement. You’ll want to have an attorney present when you speak to them. That way, you can ensure they don’t get you to say anything that may damage your case.
If you or someone you love was injured in a black ice accident, please contact the talented lawyers here at Sand Law. We’re ready and willing to help you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. Please contact us online or at 701-609-1510.