Connecticut car crashes in wintery conditions: Who is at fault?

What if you are injured because another car was driving poorly in bad conditions?

Wintertime, and often portions of fall and spring as well, can pose dangerous driving conditions in Connecticut. Cold weather can lead to snowfall and icy roads and these conditions can increase the risk of a car accident. Already this November, Connecticut State Police reported the closure of a local highway due to a multi-car crash.

So, what happens if poor weather conditions result in a car crash? Who is liable? In many cases, the answer will hinge on the legal theory of negligence.

What is the legal theory of negligence?

In order to determine negligence, the victim of an accident must establish four elements: duty, breach, causation and damage. Duty, when it comes to car accidents, generally refers to a driver's duty to operate the vehicle with care. State law requires drivers to operate with care. As such, a victim can generally establish this element with the simple fact the driver chose to operate a vehicle.

The second, element, breach, requires the victim establish the driver failed to meet this duty. The court generally considers what a "reasonably prudent person" would do in the same situation to determine if this element is satisfied. As a result, a victim would generally need to show the average person would have acted differently in the same situation.

The last two portions of negligence, causation and damage, require the victim show the breach caused the accident and that the accident caused damage. The damage can be physical or financial. Medical bills and costs connected to fixing or replacing a vehicle can help establish this element.

How does a victim apply negligence to accidents caused by ice or snow?

Most states have laws that require drivers adapt their driving technique to the weather. This means even if the speed limit is 70mph, the law expects the driver to go much slower if the weather makes it unsafe to travel at this high speed. This can make it easier for a victim to establish the other driver was liable in an accident, even if they were not speeding at the time of the crash.

What if I was injured in a car accident due to wintery conditions?

Determining the best course of action and gathering the evidence needed to build a personal injury claim from a car accident can be difficult. An attorney experienced with these claims can review the details of your accident and discuss possible legal remedies.