Philadelphia has been experiencing lots of snow and ice covered roads this winter. Already, the Philly region has seen some major snow storms. Car accidents are bound to happen. Who is at fault? What are the injured parties’ legal rights?
Identifying the Cause of a Weather Related Car Accident in Philadelphia
All drivers must exercise reasonable care when driving on roads and highways in Philadelphia. Snow, ice or rain are no exception. When a weather related car accident happens, it’s usually due to one of three things: driver inexperience, driving too fast or careless driving.
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Example: An Inexperienced Driver Fails to Drive Down a Snow Covered Hill
A young driver is trying to drive down a hill in her neighborhood in a Philadelphia suburb during a winter storm when the roads are covered in snow. Rather than tap her breaks as she descends the hill, she slams on the brakes as she nears the bottom of the hill. Her car fishtails and she ends up in the opposing lane of travel, striking another car.
Example: A Driver is Driving Too Fast and Fails to Stop On Time
A driver is driving on a busy roadway in downtown Philadelphia during rush hour, and the roads are covered in snow. Although he isn’t driving over the speed limit, he is driving too fast for the conditions. As the driver approaches a stop sign, he pumps his brakes, but is unable to stop in time. He ends up in the middle of the intersection where he’s hit by an oncoming car.
Example: A Driver is Talking On Her Phone
A driver is talking on her phone and not paying attention to the slippery roadway that is covered in ice. She is about to merge into oncoming traffic, but fails to yield to oncoming cars. She proceeds to merge too quickly without clearing enough distance between her and the first oncoming car and ends up side swiping the car.
In some cases, a weather related car accident due to ice, rain or snow may be caused by a driver’s failure to take proper care of their car. For instance, a driver who has bald tires and is driving in an ice storm isn’t going to be able to navigate turns or stops safely. If a car accident occurs, the driver may be liable for driving with bald tires.
Legal Rights After a Snow or Ice Related Car Accident in Philadelphia
A party who is injured in a snow or ice car accident in Philadelphia would be eligible for PIP benefits, so long as they are covered under a car insurance policy issued in the state. PIP benefits are available without regard to fault and cover things like medical bills, lost wages, etc. Under PA law, the minimum amount of PIP coverage required is $5,000 per person.
Therefore, in the examples above, both the at-fault drivers and drivers/passengers of the cars that got hit would be eligible for PIP, up to at least $5,000. These types of claims are made under the injured individual’s own car insurance policy, not the policy of the at-fault driver.
Drivers or passengers who sustain injuries due to a snow or ice car accident caused by another party may be able to file a car accident injury lawsuit to recover out of pocket expenses, any expenses not covered by PIP and pain and suffering. It’s important to note that PA limited tort law may prevent an injured party from recovering pain and suffering damages unless certain requirements are met.
Contact our Philadelphia Car Accident Law Firm for a FREE CONSULTATION at (866) 641-0806. Our lawyers are licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and handle car, truck and pedestrian accident lawsuits in both states.