Burlington is in a Northern New England climate, so we often see snow and subfreezing temperatures any time between October and May. Our roads take a beating all winter long. It is not uncommon to see countless potholes and cracks open up in the road during the winter months. Burlington roads are susceptible to heaves, and this is true of roads throughout Vermont.
When there are freeze cycles – more common in late winter and spring – water gets into cracks in the road and expands. Each time that happens, it opens up wider cracks and creates lots of pumps in the pavement and divots in the pavements and potholes and cracks, so the road surface becomes uneven and can be dangerous.
Reach out to Drew Palcsik at Champlain Valley Law to learn about the dangers of Burlington car accidents involving bad weather and icy roads. A seasoned car accident lawyer like Drew will review the facts of your case and help you recover compensation for damages.
Common Warning Signs of Weather Hazards
Ice is a common weather hazard in Northern New England as well. When we have temperatures that hover at or near freezing and precipitation comes down in the form of rain and ice forms on the roadways, and it creates a surface that people cannot see. It can be menacing, and it is difficult for tires to get traction on ice. Often, there will be weather warnings to be careful of an ice storm.
In Burlington, there are many signs which state “bridges ice before roadway.” This means the roadway on a bridge does not have any ground beneath it to insulate it and keep it warmer, so the road surface of a bridge will freeze quicker.
The roadways will cool down faster than what is around it, so a driver might be on a road that has traction for their tires, and then they get on a bridge, and the surface is just slightly colder, and because it is slightly colder, the road surface can be icy and can cause them or another vehicle to lose control.
Initial Steps a Person Should Take Following a Collision Involving Icy Conditions
After an accident, the first thing you should do is make sure that you are safe and unharmed at least as much as possible. Then, just like when you are in an airplane when the staff tells you to put the oxygen mask first and then check on the safety and wellbeing of others.
If the car is in a roadway, you should see if you can safely move it to the side of the road so that it is not obstructing traffic and potentially causing further collisions and further risk of harm to people. Then, it is best to call the police and emergency services. You should make sure that everyone is okay and that the other driver does not leave the scene.
It is best to collect as much evidence as possible, including the license and insurance information of the other driver, and make sure you give a complete statement to the police when they arrive. If there are witnesses, you should get their names or make sure they do not leave so that the responding police can get their information.
Seek Medical Treatment
If there are emergency services that respond, those who have been involved in a collision do not need to take an ambulance in every case, but if there is even the slightest chance that you are hurt, you should be seen by first responders. That is because insurance companies and their lawyers will often use the fact that you drove away and refused medical treatment as a reason to claim that you are not hurt and that your injury has no value or a low value.
Impact on Assignment of Fault
If there are bad weather conditions, insurance companies and their lawyers will often claim that it was an unavoidable accident due to circumstances beyond their insured driver’s control.
They may argue that you were driving too fast or otherwise unsafely for the road conditions, but the law requires everyone who is operating a motor vehicle to adjust their driving for road conditions. You should always be adjusted so that they stay safe for the then-existing road conditions.
Single Car Collisions
In personal injury cases, in order to have a successful case or claim, there needs to be an at-fault party. The at-fault party can be another driver, a business, a property owner, and a city or town, but somebody must be at fault in order for there to be a liability claim. If there is no other driver, then Drew will look to see whether there are circumstances that were created by a person or business that contributed to the collision.
On occasion, sometimes the municipality or state might be responsible for a collision if there are defective or unreasonably unsafe road surfaces or if the roadway was defectively designed and that defective design contributed in some meaningful way to the collision.
How a Seasoned Car Accident Attorney at Champlain Valley Law Could Help
Car accidents are extremely dangerous and can cause significant damages, especially in inclement weather. It is best to retain the services of a seasoned car accident attorney to determine the next steps to take. Drew Palcsik at Champlain Valley Law will help you understand your options for compensation following Burlington car accidents involving bad weather and icy roads. Let our dedicated team help you seek the compensation you and your family need.
Call today to schedule a consultation.