Some years the snow in Coeur d’Alene is measured in not inches but feet. Other years fall and winter storms aren’t so bad. Even so, the cold temperatures will always create a lot of hazards on the roads around Kootenai County. Glazing across the mountain passes on I-90 and deep mud and slush on the backroads around the lake can make travel treacherous and even lead to serious accidents.
You might be traveling around Northern Idaho in bad conditions when a motorist moving at unsafe speeds forces you into an accident. If you are seriously hurt by the stupid decisions of a driver on snowy and icy roads you should call a car accident attorney with a lot of experience representing the victims of weather-related accidents. CCD Law attorneys in Spokane and Idaho can ensure you don’t end up paying for a bad driver’s mistake. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.
Bad Weather Accidents in Coeur d’Alene
Below freezing temperatures and winter storms can leave Idaho roads in bad shape. Coeur d’Alene combats slick roads with plows and by making their own de-icing solution at the town’s brine center. Unfortunately, crews can’t use these solutions on smaller, less used streets because brine only helps when there’s a steady flow of traffic. This leads to a lot of intersections staying icy for days or weeks, creating long-term hazardous conditions.
The Idaho Transporation Department finds that January and December generally see the highest accident rates of the year. In 2017, 2,695 accidents took place in January and another 2,666 occurred in December. Many of those accidents were attributed to icy and snowy conditions.
Idaho Traffic officials say that there are more total crashes in these months but that they result in fewer injuries because bad weather collisions usually occur at slower speeds and create less severe impacts. That may be true, but January and December of 2017 still saw a combined 1,440 people injured in accidents and a tragic 31 deaths.
Bad Weather and Bad Driver Hazards in Idaho
As experienced drivers probably know, it’s not usually the icy roads that will cause you problems. It’s the other drivers who don’t show proper caution on those roads that can land you in trouble.
These are some of the common mistakes inexperienced or careless drivers can make in icy conditions.
- Traveling too fast for conditions – In winter weather, the slower you go the safer you’ll be. Careless drivers will often not notice their speeds inching upwards until they need to stop and can’t. They can slide into you from any direction, and on ice, you’ll have a harder time steering clear.
- Overconfidence – Motorists may have four-wheel drive and studded or chained tires making them feel they can drive like it’s a normal day. They may not realize that these advantages help them go but won’t really help when they try to stop. The mistake can leave them sliding into the lane beside them or into oncoming traffic.
- Braking too quickly – Slamming the brakes is never a good idea when it’s icy. This can increase the chances of your tires losing their grip on the road. Go slow enough to anticipate when you’ll need to stop and pump your brakes gently to slow down.
- Accelerating too quickly – Many people don’t realize that you can send your car spinning by taking off too fast. Hitting the gas pedal too hard can cause your tires to spin and lose their grip, sending you sideways.
- Following too close – It should be obvious, but following a car as closely as you would on a summer day is a dangerous move. The car in front of you may be slowing down for a stop sign or an obstacle ahead, they hit the brakes, and in a delayed reaction, you also hit the brakes. Now you’ll need more distance to stop safely than the driver ahead of you will. It can end in a rear collision. There more car lengths between you and the driver in front of you, the better.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is at fault in an accident involving icy roads?
Just like in a normal accident in clear weather, drivers who travel carelessly on icy roads and cause accidents will be held liable. Just because the roads were slippery doesn’t mean a driver can escape blame when they travel too fast for conditions or make a reckless move and spark a collision. Bad weather accidents are just like any other accidents. One driver will make an unsafe move or decision and be found at-fault for vehicle damage and injuries. It’s just up to you and your lawyer to prove the at-fault driver was driving carelessly.
Can I get injury compensation if I was partially to blame for an accident?
In Idaho, even if two drivers share fault in an accident an injury victim can still receive compensation. Idaho is a comparative negligence state. That means you can be assigned a percentage of blame in your accident, but still receive help with things like your hospital bills and other expenses. You might be assigned 25% of the blame for pulling out in front of a vehicle, but the other driver might bear 75% of the blame because they were traveling too fast for conditions. In that case, you could be awarded compensation, with your share of the fault subtracted. As long as you are less than 50% responsible in an accident you can file a claim for damages.
What kind of accident damages can I get compensation for?
Compensation for your hospital bills and your lost paychecks from missed time at work can be a big part of your award. Your attorney will also see to it that any future medical care that may be necessary is provided for. A disability or a disfigurement can also factor into an award from an insurance company. If you’ve had to endure extreme pain with your injury, that can be factored into compensation. Treatment for emotional trauma and resulting depression and anxiety can also be covered. There may be a number of other hardships that you’ve endured that can be included in a claim.
Contact a Northern Idaho Auto Accident Attorney
Established in Spokane in 1948, Crary & Domanico, P.S. is licensed and practices in both Washington and Idaho. We are committed to providing our clients with the absolute highest quality legal representation. Our Coeur d’Alene Car Accident Lawyers can protect your rights to compensation if a bad weather accident caused by a careless driver left you or a loved one with a serious injury. You have our assurance that we will use our absolute best efforts to win your case. Contact us after any accident resulting in injury for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation. We will only offer you advice which is in your best interest.