As St. Joseph gets hit with more snow and ice, police are preparing for more car accidents. They are urging drivers to slow down and be careful on the roadways, even if it is not currently snowing.
Drivers should know that this is not just an empty recommendation: Missouri’s comparative negligence rules can end up punishing drivers who do not take reasonable precautions when driving in the snow.
More Snowy Weather in St. Joseph
After a winter storm dropped several inches on St. Joseph, Missouri, on Monday, January 25, police in Troop H of the Missouri Highway Patrol say they responded to 25 crashes and 108 other calls.
While the snow has largely been cleared from that storm, another three inches fell early this morning.
Police have called on drivers in the area to take extra precautions on the roads, even if it is not snowing.
Comparative Negligence and Wintry Weather
Whenever there is a car accident and more than one person can be at fault – like whenever there are multiple vehicles involved, or a defective car part could have contributed to the crash – personal injury law in Missouri has to compare how at fault each party was.
This is Missouri’s comparative negligence rule. Anyone hurt in a car crash can recover compensation for their injuries by filing a personal injury claim. However, their recovery will be diminished by the percentage of fault that they brought to the accident.
For example, if a driver gets hurt in a car crash and deserves to be compensated $100,000, but they were 40 percent at fault for the crash, they would only recover $60,000.
In car accidents, one of the biggest factors in determining who was at fault is how safely the plaintiff was driving. Driving safely, though, depends on lots of different circumstances. Two big ones are the weather and the driving conditions at the time of the crash.
Driving attentively on the highway, at the speed limit, while maintaining a two-second separation distance is generally considered to be safe driving when the weather is good and the roads are clear. As the weather and the road conditions deteriorate, though, it becomes more and more unsafe. To drive reasonably safely in winter weather, drivers should slow down and extend their separation distance to give themselves more time to stop or evade a hazard.
If they do not take these precautions, drivers who get hurt in a car crash may end up recovering less than what they deserve because of Missouri’s comparative fault rules.
St. Joseph Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
The personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office strive to legally represent accident victims in St. Joseph, Kansas City, Springfield, and elsewhere in western Missouri. Drivers in these areas, though, can help their own case by driving safely for the road conditions and reducing their share of fault for any accident that might happen.
Call the Smith Law Office at (816) 875-9373 or contact them online.