Many people in the Prairie State have not experienced the sheer joy of driving in an Illinois winter. Driving hazards are much worse between November and probably May, in some years. Black ice is a good example of these winter dangers. This thin, translucent ice is almost impossible to see, especially at night. Furthermore, these patches are much slicker than white ice.
Largely because of these dangers, and because of the enhanced winter duty of care, an Illinois auto accident attorney can obtain substantial compensation in these cases. In a serious injury claim, this compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Duty to Prevent Car Accidents in Bad Weather
Most noncommercial drivers have a duty of reasonable care in Illinois. This duty requires them to drive defensively, avoid accidents when possible, and obey the rules of the road. These rules of the road include winter maintenance, such as snow tires when required.
In many cases, this duty of care is fixed. Motorists who started driving yesterday have the same duty of care as motorists who have driven almost every day for decades. But in this situation, the duty of care is variable.
Drivers must slow down and otherwise respond to adverse environmental conditions. Driving in icy conditions is once again a good example. Largely because of the previously mentioned black ice hazards, even if there is no visible hazard at these times, drivers have a duty to slow down and avoid driving multitasking.
Commercial operators, like taxi drivers and Uber drivers, have a higher duty of care. These individuals are basically insurers of safe passenger conduct from Point A to Point B. This duty is not limited to driving behavior. Commercial operators also have a duty to pick up passengers and drop them off, in safe locations. Icy patches are not safe locations. The risk of a slip and fall is too great.
Car Accidents in Inclement Weather and Liability Issues
Individual drivers are legally responsible for wintertime car wrecks if they violate their duty of care. Failure to respect adverse weather conditions, especially travel advisories, is a clear breach of the duty of care. Evidence on this point includes erratic driving prior to the crash, failure to properly winterize one’s vehicle, and the tortfeasor’s statements about slipping on ice or other bad weather driving.
In these situations, the victim/plaintiff must establish negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
Liability is easier to establish if the tortfeasor violated a safety law. These tortfeasors could be liable for damages as a matter of law. Speeding, ignoring a traffic control device, and making an illegal lane change are the most common negligence per se claims.
Drivers might be legally responsible for wrecks, and third parties are often financially responsible. The previously mentioned commercial drivers are a good example. Employers, like ridesharing companies and taxi companies, are financially responsible for damages if their employees cause car crashes during the scope of employment. Illinois law defines these key phrases in broad, victim-friendly terms.
Connect with a Hard-Working Car Accident Attorney
Be careful when you venture out into Illinois’ Winter Wonderland. For a free consultation with an experienced Rockford personal injury lawyer, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.