Whether you like it or not, we can all agree that Winter is upon us, with the tabloids as ever predicting months of arctic weather and storms for the UK. Recent events and weather conditions have shown that this time of year can make our roads hazardous and road traffic accidents much more likely.
Inclement weather such as ice, snow, heavy rain, fog and poor lighting can all lead to Britain’s roads being more dangerous to negotiate. So, what can you do if you are injured in a bad weather road traffic accident? Therese Classon, a Partner in the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence department at WBW Solicitors in Newton Abbot explains.
The first thing you need to do if you are injured in a road traffic accident is to determine who was responsible. This is not always as easy as it may sound, especially where bad weather is a factor.
To claim compensation, you need to show that the person responsible for your injuries owed you a duty of care, that they breached this duty of care and your injuries were a result of this breach.
All drivers owe other road users, including pedestrians, a duty of care and they are required to take extra care when driving in hazardous weather conditions. If, therefore, someone was driving over the speed limit in snowy, icy or foggy conditions, there is a good chance that you will have a valid claim against them.
The highway authorities also have a duty of care to ensure measures are put in place to improve road safety, which could include gritting, salting or ploughing snowy or icy roads, or erecting signs warning of potential hazards and urging drivers to slow down.
Consequently, if a driver hits you after skidding on an untreated road you may also be able to bring a claim against the Highway Authority if the courts feel that it breached its duty of care.
Even if you were partly to blame for the accident you may still be able to make a claim as long as someone else was responsible too. Your compensation amount may, however, be reduced depending on how much the court feels your negligence contributed to the accident and your subsequent injuries.
How a solicitor can help
You should seek legal advice as soon as possible after your bad weather road traffic accident. Our specialist personal injury lawyers will quickly assess whether you have a valid claim and if you do they will help you gather the evidence you need to strengthen your case. They will also arrange for you to be examined by a medical expert who will assess the cause of your injury and the effect it has had on your life.
Our lawyers will work hard to win you an out-of-court settlement, but will be there to offer expert advice and speak on your behalf if the matter has to go to court.
The compensation you receive depends on how serious your injury is, your prognosis and how it has affected your life, but could include damages for:
- pain and suffering;
- loss of earnings;
- additional medical treatment or rehabilitation;
- out-of-pocket expenses; and
- adaptations required to your home.
For further information, please contact Therese Classon, a Partner in the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence team on 01626 202328 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. WBW Solicitors has nine offices across the South West in Newton Abbot, Bovey Tracey, Torquay, Paignton, Exeter, Launceston, Exmouth, Sidmouth and Honiton.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.