This winter has been tough on Upstate roads and drivers. Winter storms have already been responsible for hundreds of traffic accidents and several traffic-related fatalities as roads in Greenville, Spartanburg, Pickens, Anderson, and Oconee Counties have become dangerous with the accumulation of snow, ice, and freezing rain.
On January 22 and February 15, 2016, two significant winter storms enveloped the Upstate and impacted its drivers, forcing many folks to stay off the roads and many more to imperil themselves by getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle on treacherous winter roads. On February 15 alone, there were more than 100 traffic accidents in the Upstate, over fifty of which occurred in Greenville County.
When weather-related traffic accidents occur, injured folks often wonder whether they will be able to recover for the injuries they sustain. The answer, of course, is that injured parties can always seek compensation for their injuries from the person or persons responsible for those injuries, even if icy roads and other weather-related hazards have to be taken into consideration by any attorney representing a person injured in a traffic accident.
How are weather related accidents different?
Unfortunately, the injuries sustained in traffic accidents caused by icy roads and winter weather can be particularly severe, necessitating a great deal of care in the investigation, negotiation, and prosecution of an injured person’s case. On January 23, a pedestrian was killed by a motor vehicle while jogging alongside an icy road. And, on February 15, a teenager was killed in a head-on collision with a tow truck on an icy Greenville County road. These types of cases absolutely require the assistance of an attorney experienced with serious injuries and fatalities. Knowledge of different theories of liability and experience identifying and recovering from different types of insurance coverage can often be the difference between a settlement that provides for a deceased’s loved ones and one that does not adequately compensate those family members left behind. As demonstrated by the representative cases listed on this website, the attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A., have proven experience with these types of cases.
The person who hurt me says it was not his fault because there was ice on the road, is that true?
Icy roads and bad weather do not absolve a driver of his negligence when he injures another person. Every driver in South Carolina is tasked with maintaining a proper lane of travel. In addition, regardless of the posted speed limit, South Carolina requires that its drivers maintain speeds consistent with the safe operation of their motor vehicles. If the weather is such that a driver can only safely operate his motor vehicle by driving at half the posted speed limit, then that is his obligation. When a driver loses control of his vehicle on icy or wet roads and injures another person, then it was his failure to safely operate his vehicle and maintain his lane—not the weather—that was the proximate cause of the innocent party’s injuries.
What about passengers injured on winter roads?
A passenger injured while riding with negligent driver can seek compensation for her injuries from the driver of the vehicle, even if they are related to the driver. By way of example, if husband is driving wife to the doctor and runs off a slippery road injuring wife, then wife can file a claim against husband’s insurance for the injuries she sustained in the accident. By failing to maintain his lane and a safe rate of travel, husband caused wife’s injuries, so his liability insurance carrier should compensate wife for her damages.
What about punitive damages in weather-related accidents?
Punitive damages may be recoverable against a driver whose conduct while driving on a wet or icy road exceeded mere negligence and constituted willful, wanton, or reckless behavior. Most folks operate their vehicles carefully and cautiously when winter weather increase the danger of travel on our roadways. However, despite dangerous conditions, some people drive in a way that constitutes a reckless disregard for the safety of others. When those reckless folks cause injuries to others, then injured parties can recover damages not only designed to compensate them for their injuries but damages designed to punish a reckless driver for his disregard for his fellow citizen.
Ultimately, if you have been injured while traveling on our roadways in the Upstate this winter, then you need to contact an attorney who will ensure that you recover what you are entitled to recover. Attorneys David R. Price, Jr., and Sam Tooker at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. would welcome the chance to help you with your case. In the meantime, be careful while driving this winter and be mindful of the dangers associated with travel during these severe weather events.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.