Freezing rain, snow, and icy roads make for very dangerous driving conditions in Pittsburgh. Many drivers use proper safe winter driving practices for icy roads and exercise extreme caution in poor conditions, but accidents still happen. Weather- and road condition-related motor vehicle accidents pose unique complications for injury claims; determining who is liable is not always straightforward. An icy road accident and injury lawyer in Pittsburgh can help.
For more information about filing an icy road accident claim or negligence lawsuit, call Berger and Green today for a free consultation: 412-661-1400.
How bad are the roads in Pittsburgh in the winter?
It seems not a winter season goes by that you do not see a news report about the dangerous, slippery conditions on the roads. After all, we are in the “snow belt” and we get an average of 41 inches of snow every winter, according to the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works (DPW). On particularly wintry days, sometimes dozens of cars will wind up crashing or sliding off the road in Pittsburgh due to ice and freezing rain.
DPW generally does a pretty good job of preparing for inclement weather and monitoring the road conditions. When the weather report indicates freezing conditions, the Department will send out nearly three dozen vehicles to monitor the roads. But sometimes even they are simply no match for Mother Nature.
What types of accidents can icy roads cause?
Our firm has been handling auto accident cases in Pittsburgh for decades. We have come across just about every type of icy road condition case imaginable, including:
- Fender benders
- Multi-car pile-ups
- Cars that run into guardrails and street signs
- Tractor trailer jackknifes
- Drivers that skid into pedestrians and bicyclists
- Cars that roll down a hillside
- Rear-end accidents
- Cars that lose control and run into houses
- Head on and t-bone collisions
What factors contribute to icy road accidents?
The ice itself creates a risk of crashing, but the manner in which people drive on the hazardous roadways contribute to accidents, as well. Drivers increase the risk of crashing by driving too fast for conditions, overcompensating, and not using the right maneuvers when their brakes lock up. There are specific winter driving techniques that every driver in Pittsburgh should know.
The AAA’s How to Go on Snow and Ice explains how to exercise caution when driving in wintry conditions. Below are some of the tactics the Association recommends:
- Driving slowly
- Keeping your headlights on low beam
- When driving behind cars in slick conditions, increase your distance from the three to four seconds normally recommended in dry conditions to eight to 10 seconds.
- Avoid changing lanes on the highway because snow and ice build between lanes.
- Minimize braking as much as possible on slippery hills
- Avoid using any jerky steering movements
- Learn how to steer when skidding (It varies depending on whether or not you have ABS brakes and whether your rear or front wheel tires have locked up.)
Who is liable in icy road accident cases?
Any party whose negligence caused or contributed to the accident may be liable for accident victims’ damages. If another driver hit you, the driver might be liable if the driver was not driving safely. If the driver was driving too fast for conditions or texting while driving, for instance, the driver will probably be negligent.
Of course, the same goes for you; if you were not exercising appropriate caution and your actions led to the accident, you might be the one who is liable. And if more than one party was responsible for the accident, then those parties may share liability in proportion to their roles.
In some cases, an auto manufacturer might be liable in a product liability case if the braking or steering system was defective. In addition, if the road was defective, a government entity may be liable. (Cases against public entities are more complex and have a stricter set of rules. For more information, call 412-661-1400.)
Your attorney will be able to help you determine liability and how to proceed with trying to recover your damages.
What recovery options do I have available?
Your available options for recovery depend on several factors: who caused the accident, how severe your injuries are, and what type of auto insurance policy you have. Generally, you can recover damages by:
Option 1: You can file a claim with your own auto insurance company. If you were at fault and/or you have no-fault insurance, this is your primary avenue for compensation. Under this option, you are limited to the out of pocket losses which are covered under your policy.
Option 2: File a claim with the other driver’s insurance company or a lawsuit against that driver. Under this option, you may benefit from an attorney.
Option 3: File a claim or suit against another liable party, such as the government agency in charge or an auto part manufacturer.
Before making any decisions or filing any claims, it is advisable to carefully review your options with an injury attorney that handles icy road accidents — particularly if your damages are substantial. This way, you can make informed decisions and increase your chances of maximum compensation.
Does Berger and Green assist with icy road accidents in Pittsburgh?
Our attorneys at Berger and Green have the experience, skills, resources, and determination to handle all types of personal injury cases in Pittsburgh, including icy road accidents. Our well-qualified staff can review your case, determine liability, negotiate with insurers, and help you quickly recover the funds you deserve.
In icy road accident cases, we make it a point to thoroughly investigate the case to see if there may be other parties at fault, ensuring that we exhaust all possible sources of compensation for you. Our goal for each of our clients is to obtain the settlements and verdicts they need and deserve.
Contact Berger and Green today at 412-661-1400 for a free case evaluation at your convenience.