How Icy Roads Increase Risk of Car Accidents
Poor weather conditions can increase the likelihood of a dangerous car accident. This is especially so for icy road conditions caused by wintertime snowfall. Cars can easily lose traction with the road in icy conditions, causing drivers to lose control of their vehicles. Determining liability is tricky in these situations because all drivers, no matter what, should be driving carefully. However, the necessary level of caution will increase on icy roads. Obviously, drivers cannot control the weather and cannot be blamed for a road being icy. Some drivers wonder if the state is responsible for dangerous weather conditions.
In most cases, the State of Massachusetts will not be liable for accidents caused by icy road conditions. According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 84 § 17, a municipality is not responsible for accidents on icy roads if the roads were otherwise maintained and safe. However, the situation might be different if the roads were unsafe due to the state’s negligence, and the unsafe conditions were made worse by ice.
If you were in a car accident on the icy roads of Massachusetts, you should contact an attorney to determine liability and damages. Our Boston car accident attorneys can assess your case and help you figure out who is at fault for your injuries. Call (617) 925-6407 to set up a free, private legal consultation with the team at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan.
Can Massachusetts be Held Accountable for an Accident Caused by Icy Roads?
In general, neither the State of Massachusetts nor any cities or towns can be held liable for a car accident due to icy road conditions. While ice and snow on the roads can be very dangerous, the state cannot control where and when snow and ice cover the roads. However, the state is responsible for generally maintaining the roads. If your accident was caused by dangerous road conditions, such as deep potholes exacerbated by icy conditions, you might be able to hold the state or city liable.
According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 84 § 18, if you wish to file a personal injury lawsuit against the State of Massachusetts or a municipality therein, you must serve notice to the state or municipality within 30 days. The notice must include information about your accident and injuries and personal information. If that state or municipality does not cover your expenses for the accident, you can sue for damages in a civil action. However, you only have three years to bring a civil action for a personal injury lawsuit.
For help with your case. Contact our Somerville car accident lawyers. We can assess your case and determine if you can file a lawsuit against the state or a city or town for your accident.
How is Fault Determined in an Icy Road Accident?
Fault is determined based on who your defendant is. When suing the state or a city, determining fault will be different from suing another driver. In either case, our Massachusetts car accident attorneys can help you prove fault for your accident on the icy roads.
If you are suing another driver, fault can be shown in a number of ways. In general, you should be looking for evidence that shows the other driver was driving negligently or in a way that was unsafe for the road conditions. Because the roads were very icy in your accident, drivers should be driving differently than normal to be safe. The level of caution required on icy roads is usually greater than normal. This often means people should be driving slower, braking sooner, and keeping a farther distance from cars. You could show fault if the other driver was speeding, failed to brake in time, or was tailgating. You could also use things like traffic citations issued to the defendant at the accident scene to support your claims.
If you are suing the state or a town or city, your approach to proving fault will be a bit different. The state is responsible for maintaining the roads we use to drive. If they fail to take care of the roads, accidents can happen. While the state cannot control how and when the roads become covered in ice, they can take other precautions to keep roads safe for drivers.
For example, a safe road is one free of potholes that may cause your tires to blow out and your vehicle to lose control. A road filled with potholes is already dangerous, and icy conditions may make things worse. We can demonstrate fault by arguing that the state had a duty to fill in the potholes and failed to fulfill it.
Fault is most often demonstrated by showing the defendant acted negligently or failed to act safely. Contact our Wakefield car accident lawyers for help with your case.
What is the Average Claim Cost for a Car Accident in Massachusetts?
It can be difficult to determine an average cost that drivers can claim after an accident on the icy roads in Massachusetts. Your damages will depend on the extent of your injuries and losses. Some accidents are minor and do not involve heavy damages. Other accidents are very serious and involve very costly damages.
You can determine what your damages will be like by first looking at your economic losses. Economic losses include things like medical bills, the cost of repairs to your vehicle, and lost wages from missing work. Economic losses include anything that has a specific price connected to it.
Next, you must consider non-economic damages. Commonly, this includes pain and suffering, both mental and physical. Obviously, there is no set monetary value for a person’s pain and suffering, so these damages are usually estimated based on economic losses and injuries. In general, the higher your economic losses, the greater your non-economic losses may be.
Keep in mind that every case is unique, and the way damages are calculated in your case may be different from the method mentioned above. In some cases, you may miraculously suffer very few physical injuries, so your economic losses are fewer. However, the trauma of the accident might take a significant toll on your mental health, meaning your non-economic losses are great. Speak with our Cambridge car accident attorney to discuss possible damages in your case.
Contact an Experienced Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you were driving along the icy roads in Massachusetts when your car accident occurred, you should speak with an attorney about filing a personal injury lawsuit. Our Malden car accident lawyers are here to help you get the compensation you need and deserve. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to arrange a free legal consultation.