When Bad Weather And Road Conditions Lead To Accidents
Poor road conditions and weather can both contribute to vehicular accidents and, in some cases, be the main cause. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 73% of Illinois roads are in poor or mediocre condition, costing drivers in the state annual vehicle repair and operating costs of $2.4 billion, or $292 per vehicle. That’s the highest percentage in the nation. Neighboring Indiana comes in at just 17%.
If your vehicle has been damaged after hitting a pothole and careening into a tree, who’s liable for that? If snow causes your car to skid off the road and you suffer injuries, can you seek compensation from the county or state for lack of proper snow removal? Can anyone get compensation for these types of damages and injuries? Questions such as these call for knowledgeable legal counsel.
The car accident and personal injury attorneys at our firm, Marker & Crannell, have extensive knowledge and experience in all types of vehicular accident claims. We can help you exercise your full rights to recover compensation for injuries, property damage, and any additional pain and suffering you’ve been forced to endure.
All attorneys and staff members at our firm are proud to serve people injured in accidents in the communities of Naperville, Romeoville, Bolingbrook, Joliet, Aurora, Plainfield and other nearby areas of Illinois.
Automobile Insurance Laws In Illinois
Illinois is considered an at-fault auto insurance state. You have three options for pursuing compensation after a car accident.
- You can file a claim with your own insurance company. Your insurance company will then likely file a subrogation claim against the other party’s insurance company
- You can file a third-party claim directly with the at-fault party’s insurance company
- You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in civil court
By one of these methods, you can hold another party responsible. While showing that they were at fault, you can file a claim against them for injuries and damages. An experienced attorney on your side can determine the most effective way forward and handle your claim from beginning to end on a contingency basis. You will only owe us legal fees if we recover compensation for you.
Illinois’ Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
In Illinois, fault is determined proportionately using the state’s modified comparative negligence standard. Generally, this means that each driver, or party to the accident will be assessed a personal percentage of fault. If anyone seeks compensation, each driver will be responsible for damages that equate to their level of fault in the accident.
For example, if you’re rear-ended at a stoplight but one of your brake lights wasn’t functioning when you crashed, the court may find you to be 20% at fault for the accident. This means that you can only recover 80% of the total compensation you are awarded for any damages or injuries. If that total is $100,000, for instance, the insurance company or court will deduct 20% to account for your level of fault in causing the accident or $20,000 — leaving you with $80,000 in compensation.
If your percentage of fault or negligence, rises to 50 percent or more, you will not be able to recover anything from the other party.
Weather-Related Driving Requirements In Illinois
As many Illinois drivers know, weather conditions can be quite challenging at times. The Secretary of State recently released “Illinois 2021 Rules of the Road” to emphasize the various laws and driving standards that apply year-round. The document contains specific sections on driving in the fog, rain, high winds and winter in general.
These sections emphasize driving more slowly and increasing the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you while turning off cruise control. In the rain, Illinois law specifically requires that your vehicle’s headlights must be on if you’re using your windshield wipers.
Regardless of the weather conditions, a driver is always responsible for operating their vehicle in a way that allows them to maintain control over it. In snowy or raining conditions, that might mean driving slower and leaving more room between you and the vehicle in front of you – failing to do so constitutes negligence. If another driver collided with you while not driving appropriately for the weather conditions, we can document that and strengthen your case.
Liability For Road Conditions
In addition to the pothole example in the opening section, other road conditions can make driving more dangerous and accident-prone. Other hazards include:
- Road debris remaining from other accidents, or from fallen trees and downed power lines
- Damaged utility lines, such as broken water mains or leaking gas lines
- Improperly maintained roads, such as uneven pavement, potholes, or worn bridges, can cause tire blowouts or other mechanical failures
- Foliage that blocks drivers’ views when entering or exiting a highway
- Road construction equipment that poses obstacles to safe driving while not being properly isolated or blocked off
- Malfunctioning traffic signals
The maintenance of roads, highways and expressways is typically the responsibility of the state, county, or municipality in which you are traveling. While government entities are often immune to civil lawsuits, claims based on poor road maintenance – a valid form of negligence – are sometimes possible.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), for instance, says this about filing a claim for road-related accidents, “IDOT evaluates each claim based upon strict standards on negligence and liability established by the Illinois Court of Claims.” One of these standards is that IDOT must have been alerted to the hazard prior to the accident and then failed to repair it in a reasonable amount of time.
Get The Advocacy You Need Today
If you’re going to file any type of accident claim in Illinois, statutes of limitations and claim filing deadlines (especially against government agencies) typically mean that the sooner you take action, the better your chances are of obtaining compensation through a successful claim.
If you or someone you know has been injured and/or a vehicle has been damaged due to weather or road conditions, you have the right to pursue compensation. The legal process of pursuing a claim may seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to face these challenges on your own.
Call or reach out to our firm, Marker & Crannell, today to schedule your own free case consultation. We’d be happy to sit down with you, discuss the details of your case and go over our proposed approach to help you seek justice.
Get An Attorney’s Guidance After Weather And Road Conditions Have Caused An Accident
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to poor weather or road conditions, you can rely on our firm to provide you with the guidance and representation you need to determine how to get compensation. We can walk you through the entire claims process, which may lead to a large-scale personal injury lawsuit. We are ready to devise the most promising strategy for your case.
If you live in Naperville or the neighboring areas of Romeoville, Bolingbrook, Joliet, Aurora or Plainfield, Illinois, send us an email message or call us at 630-912-6009 today. We will meet with you, examine the details of your case and present you with promising options for obtaining the compensation you deserve.