Virginia’s difficult winter weather has carried on into March, and police said a snowstorm on March 3 led to hundreds of crashes and three deaths in the state just on that one day. Many of these accidents involved drivers losing control of their vehicles and running off the road, but others had vehicles slamming into each other. In one incident, a Virginia State Police trooper responding to one traffic accident had to be hospitalized after another car rear-ended his patrol car. The 19-year-old driver of the car that struck the trooper was arrested and faces criminal charges of reckless driving.
Traffic accidents in bad weather conditions can raise difficult legal issues. Virginia law provides that when people are injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, the injured may be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. To show that the other driver was negligent, the injured must show that the driver failed to exercise the same level of care that a reasonable person would under the circumstances.
In the case of an accident caused by a drunk driver or someone who was speeding, proving negligence is relatively straightforward. However, bad weather can make even otherwise acceptable driving habits dangerous.
A driver may be sober and driving under the speed limit, but if the roads are icy, that driver can easily lose control of the vehicle. In personal injury cases involving accidents in bad driving conditions, the question of negligence turns on whether the driver’s actions were reasonable under the circumstances, not just whether they were by the book.
All personal injury lawsuits based on car accidents are sensitive to the facts of the case, but when the accident occurred during a bad storm, building a case requires careful investigation. A Virginia personal injury attorney with experience in many types of traffic accident cases can help the injured to understand how the process works and help them to assess their legal options.
Source: WSLS.com, “Snow causes hundreds of crashes, 3 deaths in Virginia,” March 3, 2014