Ice, snow, sleet, and limited visibility contribute significantly to car accidents during the winter months. Driving in wintry conditions can be treacherous, making it imperative to exercise caution and adjust your driving habits accordingly.
Of course, even when we take all the proper precautions, accidents happen. When they do, it’s important to know how to navigate insurance claims and, if needed, file a personal injury lawsuit.
Understanding No-Fault Insurance Laws, Negligence, and Liability
Despite Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws, a driver can still be deemed at fault and held accountable if their actions leading to an accident were “negligent or reckless.”
For example, you can initiate a lawsuit against the responsible driver of an accident if your injuries lead to significant disability or disfigurement. Or, if the negligence of the driver results in the death of a loved one, you may also have grounds to sue for wrongful death.
Assigning liability for the accident can be challenging. Often, the parties may try to pass or share blame. For sound legal advice, it is advisable to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable Michigan car accident attorney.
Navigating Auto Insurance Claims
No matter who is at fault, it’s essential for each party to file a claim promptly. In Michigan, the statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims is three years. This means you have up to three years from the date of your accident to initiate legal action against an at-fault driver for compensation.
Failing to submit your claim within this timeframe places the responsibility for any costs related to your accident squarely on your shoulders.
Does Car Insurance Cover Snow Accidents?
Insurance policies vary, and not all of them automatically cover damages resulting from winter conditions. Therefore, it is vital to review your policy to determine the extent of coverage for such incidents.
For example, some policies may include collision coverage or liability coverage that pays for damages to your vehicle. In these policies, damages can include falling objects such as tree limbs and tree branches, slipping on black ice, or collisions during snowy road conditions. However, other policies may not.
Having an attorney familiar with navigating insurance coverage is critical to winning a personal injury or accident case.
Facing the Facts: Winter Weather Causes Accidents
Whether this is your first or 40th winter in Michigan, it’s no secret that winter weather significantly increases the risk of accidents. It’s important to use the tips highlighted below to stay safe on the road during the winter months.
Let’s take a look at just how staggering the impact of winter on road safety can be.
Michigan Crash Statistics
According to the “Winter Weather Fact Sheet,” 2022, the top five counties in Michigan for winter weather crashes were:
- Wayne: 4,160
- Oakland: 3,322
- Kent: 2,406
- Macomb: 1,470
- Genesee: 1,339
Statewide outreach campaigns emphasize the importance of driving slowly on ice and snow-covered roads. The most common hazardous action reported for the 53,972 drivers involved in winter weather crashes was speed being too fast, accounting for 15,610 accidents.
Second to speed was being unable to stop in assured clear distance resulting in 5,805 accidents.
Other Ways to Stay Safe
According to the Michigan State Police (2022), there are many ways to stay safe on wintry roads.
1. Be Prepared
Keep your car well maintained, and be sure to clear your car of snow and ice before heading out. Also, stock your car with the necessary supplies in case of a breakdown or an accident.
2. Where The Rubber Meets the Road Matters
Your tires are crucial for road safety, so be sure to choose and maintain your tires wisely.
3. Keep Passengers & Pedestrians Safe
Remember, drivers aren’t the only ones at risk on wintry roads. Keep passengers and pets safe by using proper safety restraints and keeping an eye out for pedestrians.
4. Drive Safely Near Snowplows
Know how to navigate around snow plows safely and what to expect when driving behind a snow plow.
5. Know How to Handle Emergencies
It’s important to know what to do if your battery dies on a snowy road, and how to stay safe while waiting for help.
Overcoming the Fallout of a Winter-Related Accident
Unfortunately, reckless drivers can cause an accident even if you take all of the proper precautions. If you or a loved one have found yourself in an accident this winter, you may be unsure how to proceed in fighting for your rights.
Overcoming the aftermath of a winter-related accident doesn’t have to be stressful, but challenges like lost wages, emotional distress, repairing or replacing your vehicle, and medical bills demand expert guidance.
It’s imperative to have a legal team with the experience and knowledge needed to navigate filing a personal injury claim after a winter-related accident. The skilled, knowledgeable, and compassionate lawyers at Wigod and Falzon will work hard for you while keeping your best interest in mind.
About Wigod and Falzon
Serving Detroit and its surrounding areas for nearly three decades, the Wigod and Falzon personal injury law firm has the knowledge and experience to lead you through every step of pursuing a personal injury settlement.
By operating on a contingency fee structure, our fees and case expenses are covered by a percentage of the settlement/judgment–meaning that there’s no down payment necessary. Plus, we promise that we’ll only ask for 28% of your settlement, which is 5% less than what the other guys will take from you.