Snow and ice make for unsafe driving conditions, significantly raising the rate of car accidents. This is exactly what happens in Denver every year when the city gets covered with snow, sleet, ice, rain, and mist, making the city roads dangerous to drive on.
Therefore, it’s only wise to know how liability is determined in winter driving accidents in Denver to know the legal options in case you or a loved one gets affected.
Liability in Car Accidents Caused by Winter Weather in Denver
Colorado is an at-fault state, meaning the driver who caused the accident is responsible for compensating for the losses of other parties. However, securing compensation is often easier said than done, so you need an experienced Denver car accident lawyer to file and fight a personal injury claim.
Claim settlement for traffic accidents in Denver (or anywhere, for that matter) comes down to determining liability, which is often a complex process. It includes assessing and evaluating a variety of factors. The most important ones include:
● Compliance with Colorado Traffic Laws Governing Winter Weather Driving
Since Colorado gets a lot of snow and the winter weather can get quite dangerous for those on the road, the state has various laws to enforce safe driving practices during inclement weather. All these laws are considered during the evaluation of liability claims to determine who was at fault in the accident and whether it was weather-related or caused by the driver’s negligence or reckless driving. These laws pertain to:
- Reckless and Careless Driving – CRS Sections 42-4-1401 and 1402
- Speed Limit – CRS Section 42-4-1101 (1)
- Following too Closely (Not keeping your vehicle at a safe distance from the one ahead) – CRS Section 42-4-1008 (1)
Reckless and careless driving or driving without regard to road conditions and surroundings is a Class 2 misdemeanor offense in Colorado traffic laws. It’s punishable by law with up to $300 fine and up to 90 days in jail. It will also add 8 points to the driver’s record.
Driving under the speed limit is a class A traffic infraction, but driving over the speed limit is a criminal traffic misdemeanor in Denver and Colorado at large. Class A traffic infraction is punished with a civil fine. In some cases, it also carries DMV points. However, a criminal traffic misdemeanor in Colorado can be subject to 10 days to a year in jail and/or $300 to $1,000 fine. Jail time isn’t usually given, though (unless the accident in question was very severe).
Following too closely is also a Class A traffic infraction in Denver.
If a driver is found guilty of violating any of these laws, they are charged with weather-related negligence.
● Vehicle Winterization
In severe weather, motorists must take certain preventive measures to reduce the risk of (if not prevent) road accidents, the most important of which is the winterization of the vehicles. This includes having snow tires, the right tire pressure, properly functioning brakes and windshield wipers, chains or alternative traction devices, and a minimum tire tread of 3/16” (three-sixteenth of an inch).
● Driver’s Condition
When evaluating a weather-related road accident, the court also takes into account the possibility of distracted driving or intoxication. Confirming DUI is easier than distracted driving cases for obvious reasons. There is no test to confirm distracted driving, and there may not always be cameras on the accident site or witnesses to confirm or negate it.
Determining Fault in Winter Car Accidents Can Be Tricky
Whether it’s Denver or any other state, determining fault in road accidents can be tricky in inclement weather conditions, as the driver who caused the accident may put the blame on the weather.
Hire an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Denver to Seek Compensation
If you or a loved one have been in a car accident caused by the other driver’s negligence, reckless or careless driving, speeding, distracted driving, or not taking appropriate vehicle winterization measures, you must file a liability claim. Contact us at The Bourassa Law Group to work with Colorado’s best car accident lawyers to build a strong case and seek compensation for your losses.
Dial 1-800-870-8910 today for a free case evaluation.
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