Virginia experienced two feet of snow in early 2016 from Snowstorm Jonas. As a result, most roadways were covered in snow and ice. Some snow-narrowed roads also had patches of black ice, which refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on the surface, presenting particularly hazardous driving conditions.
If a crash occurs in these conditions, who is at fault; the other driver or the icy roads?
In order to have a valid personal injury claim from an auto accident, there must be evidence that the other driver was negligent in some way. If the driver who hit you can reasonably point to inclement weather as the cause of the accident, it may hinder your ability to hold the other driver liable in a civil suit. However, if there is evidence that the other driver was operating their vehicle in a reckless or unreasonable manner while in inclement weather (e.g., speeding on a road while snow is falling) then you can pursue a claim against them and their insurance policy.
Contributory negligence defense will likely be raised
Virginia follows an arcane doctrine known as “contributory negligence.” This doctrine states that if you (i.e. the injured party) contribute to causing the accident, even 1 percent, they you may be barred from recovering through a personal injury claim in civil court. This is important to be aware of since the other driver’s insurance company will likely try to argue that contributory negligence applied to your winter weather auto accident.
This is where having an experienced Norfolk personal injury lawyer on your side is so important. A contributory negligence defense can be fought by reviewing the accident report, whether a citation was issued against the other driver, eye witness testimony, and so forth. This means that if a claims adjust calls you and brings up contributory negligence, it does not mean the end of your claim.
For more information about how to pursue civil restitution after a winter weather auto accident, check out this free legal guide, which you can download at no cost. It was written by a team of experienced Norfolk car accident lawyers.