Chicago is home to many forms of adverse weather— especially during the winter then precipitation takes the form of sleet, snow, ice and slush. Extreme wintry weather events contribute heavily to the 1.5 million weather related accidents that occur across the country each year. Even though Chicagoans are no strangers to cold winters and all that accompanies them, drivers still fail to take adequate precautions which would reduce the likelihood of accidents. Thousands of people are seriously injured in these types of accidents every year and deserve compensation for the medical treatment and care required to recover from their injuries.
Causes of Winter Accidents
Extra care must be taken when driving in rain, sleet, snow or icy conditions because anticipating difficulties in these conditions is much more effective than trying to react once you have begun to lose control of your vehicle. The main causes of winter accidents are the following.
- Excessive speeds. Many drivers don’t take into account the additional stopping distance required when roads are slick or covered in ice. Driving too fast can result in the inability to reduce speed promptly to avoid an accident.
- Low visibility. Fog and snow both reduce the ability of drivers to anticipate hazards by limiting their field of vision. This reduces the amount of time that motorists have to react when they are required to come to a halt or to change course in order to avoid a collision.
- Moisture. Precipitation is a factor in 75% of accidents that involve inclement weather. Rain, snow and ice all make it more difficult to reduce speed or come to a stop and increase the risk that drivers may lose control of their vehicles.
- Freezing temperatures. Once water begins to freeze on the pavement, the road becomes extremely dangerous to traverse and most drivers never see the patches of ice or sleet that cause them to spin out or lose control of their vehicles.
- Driver recklessness. Many winter accidents are the result of the same forms of negligence that contribute to accidents in more favorable conditions. Reckless behavior during winter conditions amplifies the chances that the driver behaving in such a manner will cause an accident.
- Distractions while driving. When the weather is rough, drivers need to focus on the road and doing anything they can to avoid an accident. Unfortunately, many drivers allow distractions such as phones, eating or drinking or handling unruly children to divide their attention and increase the chances they will be involved in a wreck.
Liability for Winter Accidents
It can be difficult to prove negligence when weather is a contributing factor in an accident. For this reason, it is important to take pictures of the accident scene and the two vehicles in order to secure evidence which can be later used to build your case. The Chicago Injury Center has access to experts in the field of accident reconstruction which may also make it less difficult to determine the exact cause of your accident and to prove that the other party was liable for your injuries.
Once you are able to provide adequate proof of negligence, you may be entitled to recover compensation for the cost of your medical treatment, physical therapy, the repair of your vehicle, wages lost during your recovery and pain and suffering that has resulted from your injuries. A qualified personal injury lawyer will be able to accurately assess the value of these damages and seek compensation which is appropriate and fair so that you do not find yourself at a financial loss in addition to everything else you’ve needed to go through.
If you have any questions about your rights and legal options following an accident, contact the Chicago Injury Center today to arrange a free consultation with an attorney. After performing a thorough review of your case, our experienced attorneys can advise you on the best course of action and let you know what you can expect from the legal process. Unless we can secure a recovery of damages on your behalf, you can be assured that our services will be at no cost to you.