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Car Accidents / Mar 25,2024

Your Comprehensive Guide to Ice and Snow-Related Car Accidents

What to Know About Weather-Related Accidents in Colorado

Thousands of people are injured or killed in weather-related accidents each year. A large portion of them involve ice or snow on the road. If you are injured in a weather-related accident, you need to understand your rights to ensure you receive the recovery you need to cover all of your losses.

At Flesch & Beck Law, our attorneys will guide you through the process of filing a claim after an ice or snow-related car accident. We are well-versed in ensuring insurance companies do not undervalue claims or pressure injury victims to settle for less than their case is worth. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Denver Weather-Related Accidents Stats and What They Mean

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, 24% of weather-related crashes occur on roads with ice and snow. In addition, 15% of weather-related accidents happen when it is sleeting or snowing. More than 1,300 people are killed in crashes involving snow and ice, and over 116,800 people are injured.

Because Denver falls within the snowy region, motorists must take care to avoid accidents when there is snow, sleet, or icy conditions. Winter weather can adversely affect driving conditions in a number of ways. Taking precautions can help keep you and others safe on the road.

What Makes Winter Weather Such a Driving Hazard?

Winter weather becomes a dangerous hazard on the road because snow and ice can reduce friction on the pavement and make it more difficult to maneuver a vehicle. Additionally, poor weather conditions can decrease visibility. 

Reduced visibility can result in deadly rear-end collisions. During a blizzard, Denver motorists can experience white-out conditions, making it nearly impossible to judge distances. Even small amounts of snow and ice can accumulate quickly, making it challenging for drivers to navigate roadways safely. Overnight, as temperatures drop, moisture on the roads can cause black ice, which is nearly impossible to detect.

The Dangers of Black Ice

Black ice can form on nearly any roadway when temperatures drop below freezing. The ice becomes almost imperceptible while driving since it is nearly invisible. It blends in with the pavement. Even on a sunny day, black ice can form if temperatures are low enough. Tragically, black ice claims a number of lives each year. In most cases, drivers are unaware of the hazard until they hit the patch of ice itself and begin to lose control of the vehicle. 

Bridges and overpasses are particularly susceptible to black ice, as well as areas that are not in direct sunlight. If you hit black ice, you should not slam on the brakes as that could cause your car to slide. Instead, take your foot off of the accelerator and try to keep your wheel straight. It is best to let your vehicle glide over the patch if possible. 

Driving on Ice: Best Practices

Unfortunately, living in a snowy region means that you will likely end up having to drive on ice at some point. The best thing to do is to take precautions to stay safe on the road. If you are involved in an accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to determine whether you have a valid claim for damages.

Be Prepared

The first thing you should do if you need to drive during adverse weather conditions is to plan ahead. Your vehicle should be winterized, and you should pack it with an emergency kit. For people traveling through Denver or other snowy parts of Colorado, it is recommended that you have snow chains, ice scrapers, water, blankets, and a fully charged cell phone. 

The more prepared you are for an accident, the better off you will be in the long run. You should also review your insurance coverage to determine how you will need to proceed after an accident. 

Plan Ahead

If you do not need to travel in snow or ice conditions, don’t. One way to avoid weather-related accidents is by planning ahead. Watch the weather reports closely to determine if a storm might be headed your way. 

Make plans to leave for your destination before the inclement weather hits or after so that you are not stuck on the road during the heaviest snow or rainfall. If you can, do not go out at night when temperatures are at their lowest, and the roads are more prone to black ice.

Be Patient

Finally, remember to be patient. Winter weather can significantly reduce visibility and increase commute times. Be sure to slow down. According to the Colorado State Patrol Department of Public Safety, speed is the number one factor in winter crashes. You are 2.5x more likely to be involved in a collision with serious injuries or fatalities when you speed during winter weather conditions.

You should also be sure to put plenty of space between yourself and the car in front of you. Giving yourself extra time to brake will help reduce the chances of a rear-end collision if visibility decreases or you hit black ice.

Who is Responsible for Injuries or Damages?

Determining who is responsible for your injuries or damages can be challenging after a weather-related accident. The best way to know who can be held liable is by consulting with an attorney. An attorney can help investigate the claim to determine whether you should pursue a claim through your own insurance policy or a liable party. Liable parties may include other drivers, a parts manufacturer, or a government entity.

Comparative Negligence in Colorado: The 50% Bar Rule

Under Colorado law, you may still be able to receive compensation from a negligent party if you were partially to blame for the accident. However, if your portion of fault exceeds 50%, you will be barred from recovery. 

Steps to Take After an Accident

Several steps should be taken after an accident to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. 

After an accident, you should: 

  • Contact 9-1-1. It is imperative to contact 9-1-1 if you are involved in an accident. They can dispatch emergency medical personnel if there are injuries.
  • Move to safety. If you are able, move to the side of the roadway so that you do not risk being hit by another vehicle.
  • Collect evidence. Take pictures and videos at the scene to try to help piece together what may have caused the accident.
  • Seek medical attention. As soon as possible, get evaluated by a medical professional.
  • Consult with an attorney. It is in your best interest to consult with an attorney as early in the process as possible.

It is important to remember that you only have a limited amount of time to file a claim, or you may lose your right to financial recovery.

Flesch & Beck–Your Personal Injury Advocate

Were you injured in a weather-related accident in Denver? Contact our office to schedule a free consultation. Let us help you get the recovery you need and deserve.

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Get started with a superior representation that comes with a personal touch. Our team handles cases in the Denver Metro Area and throughout Colorado. Please get in touch with us today, either by phone or online. We look forward to speaking with you.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute a client relationship.
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