Last Updated on June 10, 2024

What Do You Do if You Get in a New York Snowstorm Accident

If you are involved in an accident during a snowstorm, particularly while driving, here are the measures you should take:

  1. Check your injuries and call 911 if needed.
  2. Move to a safe location and turn on the hazard lights if possible.
  3. Take photos of the damage to all vehicles, the surrounding area, and any visible injuries. Make sure the snowstorm has calmed before doing this.
  4. Notify your insurance provider about the accident as soon as possible.
  5. Consult with a personal injury lawyer to understand your rights and options.

Proper and diligent documentation is crucial for seriously injured individuals. Get in touch with personal injury lawyers as soon as you’re ready – ensuring that your claim falls within the statute of limitations in New York.

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How Snowstorms Lead to Collisions

Every year, 1,300 people die in a snowstorm accident, with more than 116,800 people injured in winter car accidents alone. These tend to the following common reasons:

  • Low visibility
  • Longer stopping distances
  • Poor tire grip
  • Inexperienced drivers
  • Snowbanks and drifts
  • Obscured lane markings
  • Overconfident drivers

The accidents could also be correlated to people’s lack of preparation for driving during the first snowfall of the year. Some people might also have difficulty adjusting their driving habits, such as stopping and lowering speed early.   

The National Safety Council also revealed that fatal motor-vehicle crashes due to impaired driving also increases during the holiday season. Possible explanations include:

  • Increased evening shopping activity
  • Pedestrian and vehicle volumes
  • Holiday alcohol use

It is advisable for everyone to follow traffic laws, maintain a safe speed, and keep a proper distance from other vehicles when there is a snowstorm. Remember, prioritizing safety and being considerate of others can reduce the risk of accidents and contribute to a safer driving environment.

How Negligence Is Assessed During Snowstorms Accident

Negligence during snowy conditions in New York is evaluated based on the following factors and legal principles:

Duty of careDrivers must operate their vehicles reasonably, considering the weather conditions and adjusting their driving speed accordingly (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1180(a)).
Comparative negligenceNew York follows the comparative negligence rule, which reduces an injured party’s recoverable damages proportionately to their share of fault (CPLR 1411). 
However, if multiple parties are involved in an accident, each party’s fault will be assessed.
Emergency doctrineSuppose a driver faces a sudden and unforeseen emergency, such as a patch of black ice.

In that case, they may not be held liable for an accident if they can demonstrate that they acted reasonably under the circumstances.
Maintenance of the vehicleDrivers are responsible for keeping their vehicles safe, ensuring that their tires, brakes, and steering are properly working. Failure to do so may constitute negligence (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 375).

After identifying the legal principles applicable, the person bringing the case must prove two things:

  1. Considering the snowy conditions, the driver being sued did not drive as carefully as they should have.
  2. The driver’s careless actions directly led to the injuries or damages suffered by the person suing.

The degree of fault attributed to each driver will be determined based on the specific circumstances of the accident, considering the legal principles outlined earlier. Note that even if you are the one who sued but were also found negligent, you may be held accountable for causing the accident.

Compensation Receive by Victims of Snowstorm Accident in New York

New York residents can apply for a no-fault insurance system. The amount is $50,000, which covers medical costs, a limited amount of lost income, and certain other reasonable and necessary expenses as described by New York Insurance Law Section 5102.

No-fault insurance does not cover property damage and non-economic damages. Some examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and emotional anguish
  • Humiliation
  • Reputational damage
  • Loss of enjoyment

In addition to no-fault insurance, vehicle owners must obtain liability insurance and uninsured motorist insurance as mandated by New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law.

Coverage TypeLimit
Property Damage$10,000
Bodily Injury (Per Person) $25,000 ($50,000 for Death)
Bodily Injury (Two or More People) $50,000 ($100,000 for Death)

Uninsured motorist coverage must be provided in the same amounts as the minimum bodily injury liability insurance limits. This applies when a vehicle is uninsured, or the driver flees the scene.

Handling these matters can be difficult for victims, especially if they are already dealing with stress and injuries. To make things easier, consider hiring our trial-expert lawyers to assist with your insurance claim and file a personal injury lawsuit.

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Speak to a New York Snowstorm Accident Lawyer Today

At the Porter Law Group, our team of proven personal injury lawyers delivers ideal results. We take pride in helping families rebuild after unfavorable circumstances. We operate on a contingency basis – meaning you do not need to pay us anything unless we win your case. Through this approach, we can better support families during their times of need.

If you or a loved one is a personal injury victim, please reach out to us for a non-obligatory free case evaluation. You can also contact us at 833-PORTER9 or to schedule a consultation.

Written By
Eric C. Nordby
Personal Injury Attorney
Eric, with nearly three decades of experience in personal injury litigation, holds a law degree with honors from the University at Buffalo School of Law and a Bachelor's Degree from Cornell University. His extensive career encompasses diverse state and federal cases, resulting in substantial client recoveries, and he actively engages in legal associations while frequently lecturing on legal topics.
Legally Reviewed on June 10, 2024
Michael S. Porter
Personal Injury Attorney
Originally from Upstate New York, Mike built a distinguished legal career after graduating from Harvard University and earning his juris doctor degree from Syracuse University College of Law. He served as a Captain in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, gaining expertise in trial work, and is now a respected trial attorney known for securing multiple million-dollar results for his clients while actively participating in legal organizations across Upstate NY.
This Article Was Professionally Reviewed
This page was Legally Reviewed by Michael S. Porter on June 10, 2024. Our experts verify everything you read to make sure it's up to date. For information on our content creation and review process read our editorial guidelines. If you notice an error or have any questions about our content please contact us.
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