Winter makes it more difficult to drive. Snow and sleet can reduce visibility while driving, and icy and accumulated snow on the ground can make it more difficult to stop or turn. Because of this, car accidents across the United States increase during the winter months. Obviously, this includes Colorado, where dangerous accumulations of snow and ice on the roadway, combined with roads through foothills, canyons, and mountain passes, can make travel hazardous and deadly.
Here at Springs Law Group, our Colorado car accident lawyer has experience handling serious personal injuries caused by winter auto accidents. We can help victims of these vehicle wrecks with traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, back injuries, and other serious injuries to recover compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and property damage. Schedule our FREE appointment by dialing (719) 299-5777 to learn how we can help you.
Who is Liable for a Colorado Car Accident Caused by Snow and Ice? Some Helpful Colorado Laws for Victims to Use to Win Their Claims
We all know that driving on snow and ice takes special care and attention. When a motorist fails to exercise that care and attention necessary to safely operate his or her vehicle, that motorist is likely going to be negligent. Someone who is found negligent may be liable for all injuries caused by his or her careless and reckless conduct. This means that a victim who has been injured by a negligent driver may be able to recover compensation.
This approach is through the common law, or judge-made law, which has evolved over years of decision-making and societal shifts of opinion. The common law is flexible and “conforms with the times” to reflect what norms society holds. But Colorado takes it a step further and has enacted laws which render certain conduct illegal in the snow and ice. Some of the most applicable laws are the following:
Driving Too Fast on Snow and Ice
Under CRS section 42-4-1101 (1), “[n]o person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.” This means that a motorist who causes a Colorado car accident in snowy and icy conditions may be liable for another driver’s injuries, even if the motorist is driving less than the speed limit. This statute is also flexible like the common law to require motorists to slow down as the severity of the conditions on the roadway increase. The standard is reasonableness under the conditions, which means what is reasonable under certain snowy and icy conditions may not always be the same. Generally, the fact that a car crash occurred on snow and ice will give evidence that the defendant causing the crash was not reasonable.
Following Too Closely and Not Stopping in Time—Rear End Crashes
Not only must a motorist control his or her vehicle’s speed premised on the conditions of the roadway, but a motorist must also control his or her vehicle’s ability to stop on the roadway. Since snow and ice decreases friction, thus requiring a greater distance to stop, Colorado law also requires a motorist to condition the condition of the roadway in following other vehicles. Under CRS section 42-4-1008 (1), “[t]he driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.” Therefore, if a motorist rear ends another vehicle in snow and ice, it is likely that this section is violated and a victim may be entitled to recover for compensation.
Reckless and Careless Driving in the Winter
If the snowy and icy conditions on the roadway are so severe, a motorist who fails to slow down or use reasonable care under the circumstances may be found to be driving recklessly under section 42-4-1401 or carelessly under section 42-4-1402. These standards are more difficult to reach, requiring more difficult findings than driving too fast of failing to stop. These standards require a review of the overall conduct of the defendant-driver causing the crash and the circumstances in which the car accident occurred. These can also be a tool for victims of Colorado car accident to use to help prove their case.
Winter Colorado Car Accidents Caused by Snow and Ice May Allow a Victim to Recover Compensation for His or Her Injuries
Victims of Colorado car accidents occurring during the wintertime or on snow and ice may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. This is because Colorado law holds drivers accountable when they are driving too fast for conditions, following too closely, or driving carelessly or recklessly. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a Colorado car accident, call us to fight for you by dialing (719) 299-5777 or use the convenient and easy to use “Get Help Now” submission box available here. The call is free and the consultation is free, so call today to schedule with your lawyer today.
Jacob Kimball is a Civil Litigation and Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Colorado Springs, CO. He graduated from the Ohio State Moritz College of Law, and has been practicing law for 13 years now. Jacob Kimball firmly believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience here.