As everybody knows, parts of South Carolina just got a lot of snow – “historic” as some of the news articles reported. Airports were closed, along with parts of I-95. Many residents reported power outages and happy children found out their schools were closed.
Law enforcement in Mount Pleasant announced that they had responded to more than sixty accidents during and after the big storm with several involving vehicle roll-overs. The police chief said that “some people were overestimating their ability to drive on icy roads.” According to the article, he also said that other drivers were behaving in ways that would be dangerous in any weather — such as following too closely and texting while driving. See here.
We here at the law offices of David R. Price, Jr, PA, hope that you were safe on the roads and did not end up in a wreck. If you were in a wreck, then you should call us for help. With all of these accidents, there is going to be a spike in car accident litigation here in Greenville County and the rest of South Carolina. Here is what you need to know about snow and auto accidents in Greenville, South Carolina.
Greenville SC Car Accidents: Snow and Ice Make Driving More Hazardous
Snow and ice have a significant impact with respect to car accidents. Indeed, the Federal Highway Administration (“FHA”) reports that each year, “over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy or icy pavement annually.”
The reasons for the increase in traffic collisions are straightforward: Snow and ice reduce pavement friction between tire and road thereby reducing maneuverability. During the snow itself, the driving snow reduces visibility, and ice accumulates on the windshield also reducing visibility. Even when the snow has stopped, visibility can be affected by snow, ice and salty water being sprayed by passing cars and trucks onto a driver’s windshield. In addition, the snow obscures lanes markings and other signage. Snow accumulation can block roads entirely, but also accumulate — via snow plowing — along the edges of the road effectively eliminating roadway shoulder, reducing lane capacity and margins of error. In short, driving in snow and ice is treacherous.
But one of the myths among many drivers is that having a car accident in the snow means no one is at fault. That is not true.
Greenville SC Car Accidents: Legal Principles — The Law Of Negligence
Who is “at fault” with respect to a car accident in Greenville, SC is determined under the laws of negligence. In general, a driver will be liable under the doctrine of negligence if he or she was careless or inattentive and that carelessness/inattentiveness caused the accident. Snow and ice and bad weather — including simple rain — are among the facts that are taken into account by insurance companies and the courts in determining carelessness and/or inattentiveness. In general, to win your lawsuit, you must show that (i) the other driver owed to you a duty of care — every driver owes a duty of care to other drivers — that (ii) the other driver breached that duty of care through careless or reckless driving, that (iii) this breach caused the accident and that (iv) the accident resulted in injuries and damage to your car. In addition, South Carolina has a modified comparative negligence law whereby you can still recover for your injuries and damages to your car even if you were partially at fault.
Greenville SC Car Accidents: How Snow and Ice Affect a Driver’s Duty and Breach
From a legal standpoint, snow and icy conditions are relevant to proving the duty and breach of duty elements needed to win an auto accident case. Generally speaking, the worse the weather, the greater a driver’s duty of care. Every driver owes a duty of care. That means you must keep a careful watch and drive in a manner that is safe under the conditions. Because snow and ice make driving more hazardous, you must:
- Keep a better lookout;
- Pay better attention;
- Never text and drive;
- Slow down — by three to 13 percent in light snow and by five to 40 percent in heavy snow according to the FHA;
- Give more room when following behind another vehicle;
- Turn more slowly;
- Be extra careful on hills and graded streets and roads; and more.
As the Mount Pleasant police chief said, “some people were overestimating their ability to drive on icy roads.” Those people were guilty of breaching their duty of care.
Call Greenville SC Auto Accident Attorneys at David R. Price, Jr. P.A.
If you have been injured in a car accident in the recent snows, then after you have gotten medical attention, you should seek legal help from the proven and dedicated Greenville SC car accident lawyers at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. Contact our office today via email or telephone at (864) 271-2636.
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.