9th November 2020
Car accidents are more common as cold weather rolls around in North Dakota, especially fatal accidents.
With the arrival of the North Dakota winter season, snow, slush, rain, and ice all bring an increased risk of accidents. With slippery roads and poor weather conditions, accidents are at an all time high. Each year, 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,000 people are injured because of winter weather conditions on the roads. Winter car accidents can cause serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and even wrongful death.
While it may seem like you know what you’re doing, anyone can get into a car accident. It can be hard to avoid an accident altogether, but there are a lot of tips you can follow to help you prevent an accident occurring by your fault.
Causes of North Dakota Car Accidents in Winter
Common causes of accidents in the winter include poor visibility, blizzards and snowstorms, intense wind, sleet, hail, and rain, black ice, and slushy/snowy roads. When you get into your car, you want to make sure that you’re prepared for the road conditions. If the visibility is too bad or the roads are too slippery, you may want to consider staying home instead. Sometimes the best thing you can do to prevent an accident is to not drive at all.
Black ice is a huge problem in snowy states like North Dakota. Black ice is actually transparent, referred to as “black” because it blends into the pavement, making it nearly invisible. Hitting a patch of black ice can cause your car to slip, potentially crashing into another driver or object.
Another common cause of accidents is simply inexperience. There are many drivers, young drivers and those new to snowy weather, who don’t know how to drive in the snow because they’ve never been taught, or they haven’t experienced it before. If you are the parent of a young driver, make sure to inform them about how to drive safely in the winter before allowing them to go out without you.
How to Avoid an Accident in the Winter
During a snowstorm, the best way to avoid an accident is to stay off the roads completely. Follow the news, as they’ll likely provide updates about road conditions and give their opinion on whether or not you should leave the house. If you don’t need to go anywhere, stay home. However, even when there’s not a storm happening, roads can be dangerous.
To avoid an accident make sure your car is properly prepared for the winter. Change your tires over to snow tires and use snow chains to give them extra traction. Make sure you pack an emergency bag in your vehicle just in case you need to dig yourself out of a snow bank or wait in the cold for the police to arrive. You should include extra layers, snacks, water, blankets, a flashlight, extra phone battery, and a shovel.
Make sure that you completely clear your vehicle of snow before you start out on the road. If you don’t completely clear your vehicle, snow may fall onto your windshield while you’re driving, making it hard to see and causing an accident.
Before you leave the house, let someone know where you’re going and when you get there. Make sure to text them when you arrive. This way, if they don’t get a text they’ll be aware that you need help.
Does Insurance Cover Winter Accidents?
If you’re injured or your car is damaged in a winter accident caused by yourself (not involving another person), your car insurance will likely cover any damage to your vehicle or injuries that you sustain, depending on your insurance.
However, if your accident occurs because of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit against that person if they were driving negligently. If they’re an inexperienced driver, didn’t properly prepare their vehicle, or were even driving recklessly, while distracted, or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may have a case against them.
Determining Fault in a Snow Accident
Determining fault is an incredibly important step in the personal injury claim process. Based on your statement, the statements of witnesses, and the police report filed after your accident, your attorney will start to build a case about how the at-fault driver caused your accident by acting with negligence. They will investigate further into what happened and determine who was at-fault and what they were doing that put them at-fault. To determine negligence, your attorney must be able to prove:
- Duty of Care: They must be able to prove that there was a certain duty of care that was in place. In this instance, drivers owe a certain level of duty to other drivers on the road. They owe them safety by not acting with negligence or putting anyone in danger.
- Breach of this Duty: They then must be able to prove that this duty was breached, i.e., the driver was driving a poorly maintained car or was texting while driving.
- Causation: Next, they must prove that the breach of duty directly caused your injuries.
- Damages: Lastly, there must be damages that you can claim because of the accident, such as medical bills and lost wages.
Contact a North Dakota Car Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been involved in a winter car accident, please contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to have your case reviewed. Here at Sand Law our attorneys have years of experience working on car accident cases and are ready to help you get the most compensation for your lawsuit. For more information, please contact us online, through our chat box option or call us at 701-609-1510.