Accidents in Snow and Ice in Washington State

Plows and salt trucks do their best, but sometimes they can’t keep up when big winter storms hit. Travel on State Route 904 or out on I-90 can slow to crawl, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be careless drivers putting their snow tires to the test and traveling faster than they should.

These reckless drivers can end up putting multiple vehicles and passengers at risk when they lose control on an icy patch. A devastating wreck can involve several cars and leave multiple victims in its wake.

Washington Winter Weather Accident Dangers

A raging winter storm can pile up the precipitation on local roads and the cold temperatures can keep it in place for a week or more. The traffic issues can make for a treacherous trip trying to get the kids over to school.

It can be a nuisance, but those bad roads can also prove very dangerous. CoPilot compiled the bad weather accident numbers in Northern states. They found that Washington’s fatal accidents involving snow and ice made up 4.6% of all such deadly accidents across the country over a five-year span. Alaska led the way in this tragic statistic with almost 23% of all the winter accident fatalities among the 50 states.

By the researchers’ count, Washington saw 98 people lose their lives in snow or ice-related crashes over that period.

Who is at Fault in an Accident on Snowy Roads?

Some people may think it’s a free-for-all when the roads glaze over with snow and ice, but that’s not true. Every driver is still responsible for any accident they cause even when conditions get bad. The key is the caution drivers show or don’t show when they have to venture out.

The Washington State Patrol will tell you that the biggest risk factor in snowy conditions is people traveling too fast for conditions. You can get a speeding ticket even if you’re well under the speed limit, simply because the snow and ice should have convinced you to drive slower.

The Revised Code of Washington section 46.61.400 states as follows: “No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event speed shall be so controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.”

So, if a careless driver slides over into your lane and sideswipes you, or if they can’t stop in time on ice to avoid rear-ending you, they are responsible for the damages and injuries the accident causes. You should never have to pay for your own recovery after someone hits you on slick roads.

Common Injuries in Washington Snow and Ice Accidents

The issue of liability becomes very important as you lay in a hospital room building up medical bills. You may have to file a claim for damages against the careless driver who caused your accident to ensure you get all of your care paid for. This claim is targeted against the driver’s insurance coverage.

This can be a considerable amount and you may have to demand every bit of it from an insurance company that may be trying to slide you a settlement offer that only covers your immediate costs and accounts for none of the expenses you may face in the future when surgeries and physical therapy become necessary.

The severity of your injury and the length of your recovery can affect how much compensation you should expect. These are just some of the possible painful outcomes after a collision:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): From severe concussions to memory and vision problems, head injuries can be devastating and change your entire lifestyle.
  • Whiplash: When a vehicle skids on slick roads and can’t keep from ramming the back of your car. The neck can be thrust forward and then snap back causing an injury that can leave you unable to turn your head without pain.
  • Back injuries: Lumbar injuries, lower back, sciatica, disc damage can all come from a strike from an out-of-control vehicle.
  • Broken bones: Fractures are common in car accidents and can cause great pain and temporary or permanent disability. Breaks may not heal without surgery.
  • Soft tissue damage: Tendons and ligaments can be bruised or torn causing significant pain with limited range of motion.

Contact a Washington Snowy Weather Accident Lawyer

If a careless driver going too fast for the snowy conditions rams you and leaves you with serious injuries, make sure you have everything you’ll need to recover. An experienced, local attorney can make sure the driver’s insurance company can’t pin the blame on you or the weather.

Established in Spokane in 1948, Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S. is committed to providing the absolute highest quality legal representation to victims in Cheney and anywhere in the Spokane area. If our lawyers represent you for your accident case, you have our assurance that we will use our absolute best efforts to win your case. Contact us after any accident resulting in a serious injury for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation. We will only offer you advice that is in your best interest.

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