Michigan weather is known for its unpredictability, especially during winter when driving is at its most hazardous. In fact, close to one-fourth of all weather-related crashes occur on icy and snow-covered roads. And, while we may appreciate the warmer days that punctuate the final weeks of winter, those fluctuating temperatures cause unexpectedly conditions that can result in icy road accidents.
Drivers are involved in many types of accidents during the winter months. Rear-ending another vehicle, hitting a car while crossing an intersection or losing control and driving into a ditch are but a few examples.
The one thing that most winter accidents have in common is slippery road conditions caused by ice and snow. When roads are icy, motorists are more likely to lose control and go off the road or crash into another vehicle.
Furthermore, stopping distance increases as temperatures decrease. At 0 degrees F, the stopping distance is double the amount required at 32 degrees F.
Temperatures drop quickly on elevated surfaces such as bridges, overpasses and some freeway exit and entrance ramps. Therefore, these are common locations for icy road accidents. However, ice can form on any wet surface when the temperature dips below freezing, especially after a rainfall. Drivers should also expect icy roads in tunnels, under trees or other shaded areas where sunlight is scarce.
Black ice is actually a clear glaze that blends into the surface of the pavement and resembles wet blacktop. Black ice is usually impossible to see, which is what makes it so dangerous. It’s most likely to form when the temperature drops rapidly, such as early morning and evening. Black ice is often found on bridges, overpasses and shaded areas of a road or parking lot.
Although drivers cannot control the weather or the resultant icy road conditions, a driver can control their speed and drive at a speed appropriate for the weather. In circumstances where a motorist is not driving appropriately for road and weather conditions they can be held liable. However, under Michigan No-Fault law, accident victims seek reimbursement of expenses such as medical bills and lost wages from their own insurance policy, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
Those who do not have their own policy can claim benefits from the policy of a spouse or relative living in the same household. Finally, individuals without No-Fault coverage may apply for benefits through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP).
In addition, the injured victim(s) may be able to sue the at-fault driver for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. These intangible losses are often substantial, depending on the severity and expected duration of the injuries.
In these situations, hiring an experienced auto accident lawyer will ensure the plaintiff receives the most advantageous financial outcome.
Recommended Reading: Michigan No Fault Law Overview
Michigan No-Fault law is one of the most complex insurance systems in the country. Our experienced auto accident attorneys have the experience and successful track record you need to win the compensation you deserve.
For more information or to get your case started, contact The Sam Bernstein Law Firm or 1-800-CALL-SAM for a free, no-obligation remote consultation from the safety of your home.
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