The risk of being involved in a serious Massachusetts car accident either as a motorist or as a pedestrian is always present. However, that risk is at its highest in the winter months. Between the months of December and February in Massachusetts, it snows almost a foot per month. While this may only be the result of a few storms over the course of the month, the result is that roads and sidewalks are often snow-packed or covered in ice.
The conditions can get so bad that recently a local news article reported that on a single day there were 130 accidents – most weather related – in Massachusetts and the along the border of New Hampshire. One of the biggest dangers of a Massachusetts weather-related accident is the likelihood that a single car accident will turn into a chain-reaction accident due to motorists’ inability to come to a stop.
Another news source described a recent accident that resulted in an oil truck tipping over onto its side. Evidently, following the accident several other cars became involved in subsequent accidents because they were unable to stop in time to avoid a collision.
A Motorist’s Duty in Inclement Weather
As a general rule, motorists owe a duty of care to safely and responsibly operate their vehicles when on public roads. Under normal circumstances, this includes following all traffic laws and posted traffic signs and signals. However, when there is inclement weather, motorists must adjust their driving habits to take the weather into account.
For example, when driving in icy conditions, motorists should slow down to a safe speed, even if that speed is well below the posted speed limit. Indeed, under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 section 17, a motorist must “decrease the speed of [their vehicle] when a special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic, or by reason of weather or highway conditions.” Thus, a motorist may be determined to be at fault for a traffic accident if they fail to reduce their speed during times of inclement or hazardous weather.
Establishing Liability in Weather-Related Car Accidents
When someone is injured in a Massachusetts weather-related car accident, they can pursue a claim for compensation against the parties they believe to be at fault for causing the accident. To succeed in a claim, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant’s negligence caused their injuries.
To prove another motorist was negligent, a plaintiff must show that the defendant violated a duty of care that was owed to the plaintiff. As noted above, motorists generally owe a duty of care to those with whom they share the road, so these cases often come down to whether the defendant’s conduct violated that duty. A defendant’s failure to follow a traffic law or regulation may be considered evidence of negligence, helping a plaintiff more easily prove their case.
Have You Been Injured in a Boston Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Boston weather-related car accident, contact the dedicated Massachusetts personal injury lawyers at the Bellotti Law Group. At the Bellotti Law Group, we have decades of collective experience assisting injury victims and their families in recovering the compensation they deserve for the injuries they have sustained. To learn more, call 617-225-2100 to schedule a consultation today.
See Additional Blog Posts:
Boston Orange Line Overheats, Leading to Smoke Inhalation Injuries, Boston Injury Attorney Blog, November 6, 2016.
Massachusetts Wrong-Way Crash Kills Five People, Boston Injury Attorney Blog, November 6, 2016.