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The Ever-Changing Standard of Reasonableness: Winter Personal Injury Cases

Posted on in Car Accidents

McHenry County car crash attorneys, driver safety, illinois personal injury, car accident, inclement weatherA central and fundamental principle of Illinois personal injury law is this: if a person acts in a manner at odds with the manner in which an objective and reasonably careful person would have acted under the same circumstances, and in so doing the person causes injuries to another, the person may be held responsible for the injury victim's expenses and losses. What the “objective, reasonably-careful” person would have done in any given situation is always fact-dependent. In other words, what a reasonable person would have done while driving on a clear, summer day is not necessarily what the same person would have done in icy, slippery conditions.

Reasonable Steps for Remaining Safe in Winter Driving Conditions

Drivers need to take additional steps in order to remain safe while driving during ice storms and winter storms. Failing to take these steps is not only dangerous, but they can result in legal liability for the injuries and losses of another injured by the failure to take these reasonable and appropriate steps:

  1. Slow down and give yourself space! One of the easiest ways to reduce the likelihood of causing a winter driving accident is to slow down and give one's self additional space to stop or react to driving hazards. Sudden stopping on a road that is wet or slippery can easily cause you to lose control of the car, and being able to safely stop your vehicle can require up to twice the amount of distance as it would if the road were dry.
  2. Keep your car in good operating condition. If your car's brakes, tires, and/or windshield wipers are in poor repair, this will negatively impact your ability to safely control your vehicle. Your tires impact your ability to control your car in low-traction conditions; brakes assist in stopping your car, and windshield wipers are essential to clearing away debris, ice, and snow from your windshield. It is advisable to have your car checked by a qualified mechanic before the start of the winter driving season to ensure your car's essential parts and systems are functioning properly.
  3. Fill your car with winter essentials. If you wreck in the winter, it may take emergency crews some time before they are able to reach you. Keeping your car stocked with water, food/snacks, and blankets can help you and your passengers warm and comfortable while waiting for assistance.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a winter driving accident, your ability to recover compensation can depend on what – if any – steps the at-fault driver took to prevent the crash from occurring. Trust your passionate McHenry County car crash attorneys at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC to investigate the circumstances leading to your crash and help you pursue monetary compensation for your injuries and losses. Call our firm's offices, or reach out to us online, and learn what legal rights to which you may be entitled.



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