A January 2016 nor’easter is blanketing Rhode Island and Massachusetts with snow and a wintry mix of wind and bad weather. The safest option is parking your car and enjoying a movie and staying away from dangerous slick roads. Some are terming this snowstorm as the “blizzard of 2016”, while others are calling it “snowmageddon” or “Apocalypse plow.” The real name of this storm is “Jonas.” Jonas is definitely a whopper that some believe is equivalent to superstorm “Sandy.” We know one thing to be true, that such devastating storms are the cause of numerous car accidents in RI and MA.
Winter Snow accident in Rhode Island
Legally, Mother Nature cannot be at fault for a car crash in Rhode Island or Massachusetts. If your excuse for causing a rear end automobile crash in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (RI) or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (MA) is that the accident was caused by a snow storm or by icy, slippery roads or highways then you are wrong in nearly every situation.
The need to be cautious during a snowstorm to avoid an accident
If you are the motorist and your vehicle collides into the bumper of another truck or auto then, in all likelihood, you should have been operating your vehicle more cautiously, been travelling slower or paying better attention to the street or highway in front of you.
Rhode Island general law 31-14-1 is the ‘conditions requiring reduced speeds’ statute. (§ 31-14-1 “Reasonable and prudent speeds. – No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event, speed shall be so controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care. Violations of this section are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.”) Cite
When a snowstorm is historic, near historic or constitutes a blizzard and the media is terming the storm as “snowmageddon”, it is time to be very cautious on the roads and highways. Also motorist must be on the lookout during snowstorm “Jonas” for pedestrians and citizens shoveling their driveway or walkway so as to avoid pedestrian accidents in RI. Motorists must also be cautious to keep an eye out for people sledding, cross country skiers, children playing in the snow, snowboarders and others frollicking in the snow.
If a person ins injured in a Providence, Woonsocket, East Providence, Cranston, Warwick or Pawtucket automobile or vehicle accident then they need to contact a top Rhode Island personal injury lawyer. A Rhode Island personal injury attorney will help a seriously injured victim get the compensation that they are entitled to and that they deserve.
Blizzard conditions and whipping wind are certainly a good reason for motorists to stay off the roads, stay home and avoid a motor vehicle accident. A storm may even shut down roads when the streets are impassable and completely covered with snow. Cars slipping, sliding and spinning out of control are also common occurrences in blizzards and storms. Cars and trucks flipping over on roads often lead to traffic related deaths as well as serious injuries.
In some cases a winter storm accident result from a combination of the slick and slippery road conditions/ lack of visibility as well as other factors. These factors can include: drunk driving, drugged driving, texting while driving, drowsy / sleepy / tired driving and distracted driving as well as mechanical failure.
Sometimes, slippery roads act in conjunction with bad / defective breaks, worn down brake pads worn down or defective tires getting stuck in the middle of the highway
When road conditions in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and in Massachusetts are dicey and a stretch of highway is dangerous, people could get stranded on the highway. This could cause the highway to become a dangerous “parking lot.” People can get stranded and traffic could be backed up for many miles leaving hungry, tired and thirsty people pleading for help from the authorities and public safety officials.
Getting stuck on a highway in cold weather especially with children in the motor vehicle can be a nightmare and can even be deadly. Hundreds of Stranded vehicles combined with the authorities having a lack of resources and inability to rescue people or get supplies to them can cause death. If people are stranded overnight and it is very cold, death could result. There could also be medical emergencies such as stokes, heart attacks or seizures. EMT and rescue personnel My not be able to respond.
In the event of a fatal car accident in Rhode Island or a multi vehicle crash causing the death of multiple people than a RI wrongful death attorney should be engaged. A Providence wrongful death lawyer will be experienced in ligating fatal collisions on behalf of the executor of the estate of the deceased. If a pedestrian is killed than RI pedestrian accident lawyers should be retained to seek justice for the dead person’s loved ones and family members.
Chaotic travel during a storm
Travel can become complete chaos and people need to heed winter weather advisories and warnings from authorities to stay of roads. Snowdrift and strengthening winds, gusts and blowing snow can be especially problematic. Strong winds can blow over signs and objects causing those objects to be dangerous projectiles threatening pedestrians and others on foot. It is crucial that you never ignore a blizzard warning from state or federal authorities.
Special concerns regarding trucking during winter storms
Semi-truck, tractor trailers, big rigs and 18-wheelers are susceptible to jackknifing in winter weather icy highway conditions. Jackknife truck accidents in Rhode Island are a serious public safety concern. 2 wheel drive automobiles are also at a distinct disadvantage in snowy conditions compared to all wheel drive autos and 4 wheel drive motor vehicles.
Comparative fault and snowstorm accidents in RI and MA
The law of comparative negligence still applies in winter weather automobile accidents in RI. Rhode Island is a pure comparative negligence state in which a person who is more than 50 percent at fault for an automobile crash can still recover for their injuries, medical bills and pain and suffering. “§ 9-20-4 Comparative negligence. – In all actions hereafter brought for personal injuries, or where personal injuries have resulted in death, or for injury to property, the fact that the person injured, or the owner of the property or person having control over the property, may not have been in the exercise of due care shall not bar a recovery, but damages shall be diminished by the finder of fact in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the person injured, or the owner of the property or the person having control over the property.” RILIN
This means that a person injured in a RI car accident who is 99.9 percent at fault for the winter weather car and truck wreck can recover .1 percent of their damages, medical bills as well as pain and suffering.
Massachusetts has adopted modified pure comparative fault law which means that if a trucker, bus driver or motorist is more than 50 percent negligent for a collision in MA then they receive no compensation for their injuries caused by a vehicular crash in Mass.
A jaunt on the road just for the fun of it or for personal pleasure could put emergency workers, police officers, firefighters and rescue personal at risk. In fact their health and wellbeing could be risked as a result of this reckless behavior. Slippery, wet and treacherous roads pose great dangers for spin-outs causing injury to officials responding to Rhode Island car accidents.
In order to avoid a sliding car which has lost control which is bearing down on your SUV sometimes you must take drastic evasive action causing a crash with another motor vehicle.
Major and massive treacherous Snowstorms thankfully cause cancellations of concerts, hockey games, basketball games as well as other sporting events and shows. This keeps the general public off the highways to allow emergency personnel, snow plows, ambulances and sanders to do their job. Another danger after most of the snow is cleared is nearly invisible black ice which could lead to t bone accidents, head on collisions and rear end crashes. Sometimes, government officials need to shut down roads especially when they see cars flipping over and spinning out of control as a result of winter weather.
When a passenger vehicle smashes into or strikes another auto in a snowstorm, there are hundreds of potential injuries that could result. These injuries include whiplash injury (soft tissue injury), fractured leg, broken arm, traumatic brain injury (tbi), shoulder, back or neck injuries. In some cases when a pickup truck rams into an automobile in a high speed impact this can force one of the vehicles to plummet down an embankment or to plunge into a snowbank
Officials often need to shut down roads when cars start flipping over and spinning out of control. It is best to stay off the roads and leave the roads to the plow trucks. This will State and local police to deal with medical emergencies and other necessary government functions. Despite warnings it is not uncommon for drivers and thrill seekers to hit the road.
Snow, ice, sleet, black ice or icy rain may have been a factor in the car crash in RI or Ma but the wintry weather is not at fault for the vehicular collision. Cars, pickup trucks and automobile collisions in bad weather conditions are always the fault of someone or a combination of motorists. If a snow storm dumps several feet of snow, and there are snow drifts causing a lack of motorist visibility then driving will certainly be treacherous, dangerous and ill-advised until the streets and roads are cleared up by plows. Wet and snow packed road conditions are a recipe for motor vehicle mishaps. There is always a risk of a car sliding into oncoming traffic causing head on motor vehicle collision. Everyone knows that a rear ender is the most common type of incident caused by slippery, wet and icy roads.
Another issue is when a road is steep and slippery covered by black ice and a car slides out of control into an oncoming truck, suv or even a tree on the side of the road. When a car slides into oncoming traffic the results could be fatal. Your best bet is to steer clear of notoriously steep roads and streets in MA or RI in the event of winter weather conditions.
Wrongful death attorney in Rhode Island
Deadly car accidents in Rhode Island require the skills of an experience Rhode Island wrongful death attorney or a Providence car accident lawyer. Lawyers who primarily handle bankruptcy, zoning or probate will be in way over their head in the case of a fatal RI car accident or MA motor vehicle collision causing multiple fatalities. Rhode Island car accident attorney or Massachusetts auto crash lawyers with experience in litigating wrongful death claims will be the best option for a family seeking justice as a result of the death of their loved one, spouse, father, husband or wife.
Toppled, fallen trees and power lines can create an addition hazard for motorists during a storm. A powerful snowstorm could cripple the City of Boston Mass. or Providence RI.
NTSB investigated a winter weather bus accident in Oregon
“On Sunday, December 30, 2012, about 10:30 a.m. Pacific standard time (PST), a 1998 Prevost motorcoach, operated by the Canadian motor carrier Mi Joo Tour & Travel, was traveling westbound on Interstate 84, near Pendleton, Oregon. The motorcoach was on a trip from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Vancouver, British Columbia; on the day of the crash, it had departed from Boise, Idaho. Snow and ice had accumulated along the route, which traverses a rural area of the Blue Mountains. The motorcoach, upon encountering ice, slid off the roadway, struck a W-beam roadside barrier, went down an embankment, overturned, and came to rest upright at the bottom of the slope. As a result of the crash, 9 of the vehicle’s 47 occupants died. The driver and an additional 37 passengers were injured.” Ntsb
Findings of NTSB crash report
“Postcrash investigation by NTSB investigators and the Oregon State Police determined that the motorcoach had been traveling too fast for the weather and roadway conditions. In addition, the driver was unsafely operating the motorcoach with the transmission retarder engaged, and the motor coach was equipped with a tire not properly speed-rated for highway operations. The NTSB review of Mi Joo Tour & Travel and its driver determined that the driver was operating in violation of the 70-hour rule under federal HOS regulations for passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles at the time of the crash. The NTSB did not determine a probable cause for this crash; however, based on the driver’s HOS violation, fatigue may have contributed to his operational errors of traveling too fast for the road conditions and of leaving the transmission retarder engaged.7 Mi Joo Tour & Travel had previously been cited twice for Part 395 HOS violations; one of those violations resulted in an out-of-service (OOS) order” Id.
NECN reported : “In Massachusetts, a jack-knifed tractor trailer closed all lanes on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Blandford, and two jack-knifed tractor trailers resulted in lane closures on the Mass Pike in Palmer. A disabled tractor trailer is also blocking the ramp from Interstate 95 south to Interstate 93 north in Reading. Numerous other accidents and slide-offs were also reported, including one on Upper Road in Deerfield.” NECN
Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.