It is no secret that the winter months in northern Illinois can bring all sorts of unpleasant weather, including snow, ice, sleet, and slush. Winter storms in and around Chicago will routinely make driving conditions dangerous. Sometimes, an otherwise cautious driver will fall victim to black ice or extremely slippery roadways, resulting in car accidents and serious personal injuries. What happens when you are injured in a car accident that was caused by ice or snow? Will an insurance company deny the case if the accident was unavoidable? Keep reading to learn more from top Chicago car accident attorney, Brent Eames, about what to do if you are in a car accident caused by ice or snow.
Often times, insurance companies will dispute claims based upon ice or snow by attempting to argue that the accidents were unavoidable, or that you are actually at fault for slamming on your brakes or “suddenly stopping,” thus contributing to the accident and injuries. Are these disputes legitimate? Most of the time, the answer is no.
It does not matter if the defendant was traveling at or below the posted speed limit at the time of the accident. The law in Illinois requires that people must adjust their vehicle speed and driving behavior due to the conditions of the roadway. 625 ILCS 5/11-601 is the statute on point, and it provides as follows:
(a) No vehicle may be driven upon any highway of this State at a speed which is greater than is reasonable and proper with regard to traffic conditions and the use of the highway, or endangers the safety of any person or property. The fact that the speed of a vehicle does not exceed the applicable maximum speed limit does not relieve the driver from the duty to decrease speed when approaching and crossing an intersection, approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, or when special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions. Speed must be decreased as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person or vehicle on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.
So, even if the person that hit you due to snow and ice was driving slower than the posted speed limit, they should still be found negligent under the circumstances as a matter of law if they were driving too fast for the icy or snowy road conditions.
Another Illinois statute which could come into play is 625 ILCS 5/11-710. This is an Illinois law which makes it a violation to follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable. It provides as follows:
(a) The 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.
Once again, this statute references the condition of the highway, which would apply directly to conditions involving snow or ice. So, even if the defendant was proceeding at an appropriately slow rate of speed under the circumstances, they could and should still be found negligent if they are tailgating you in the snow, contributing to their inability to stop safely prior to striking your car.
Claims for personal injury can be extremely complex and often require the navigation of many responsible parties, theories of liability, and potential damages. Our personal injury lawyers in Chicago are skilled in handling these insurance claims and filing civil lawsuits in order to obtain maximum compensation on behalf of our clients. Brent Eames is an aggressive trial attorney who has an established track record of securing top-dollar verdicts, awards and settlements on behalf of his clients. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, don’t wait any longer. Contact Eames Law Group today to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced car accident lawyer who can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Don’t let this experience overwhelm you – let us handle the legal aspects while you focus on your recovery. Call us now to schedule a consultation.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Eames Law Group, Ltd.