As the snow piles up and winter weather sets in, snowplows will be out in force clearing roadways, parking lots, and driveways across the region. Unfortunately, while snow removal and clearing are designed to make roadways safer, snowplows are involved in many accidents each year. Just last week, a nurse was hit by a snowplow in the parking lot of the hospital where she worked. Who is responsible for snow removal is often a matter of which governmental jurisdiction a road falls under, or whether that road is on private property.
Types of Snowplow Accidents
Snowplows can be involved in car accidents for a variety of reasons. Of course, mother nature is at play and the driving hazards presented by bad winter weather, such as low visibility and slippery roads, can also cause snowplow accidents. Snowplow accidents may also occur because of negligence or error on the part of the snowplow driver. For instance, drivers work long shifts in the early morning hours or overnight, so they may be susceptible to driver fatigue and drowsy driving.
As in the case with the nurse in a parking lot, snowplows can also be involved in pedestrian accidents. Pedestrian accidents can also occur when snow blocking walkways force people to enter the roadway to continue their path. This is an extremely dangerous scenario as snowfall reduces the width of the roadway, even if it has been cleared. Other hazards for pedestrians include drains blocked by snow and ice that lead to the accumulation of water at sidewalk curbs and patches of snow and ice that can cause a slip and fall accident.
Who Is Liable for a Snowplow Accident?
Liability for a snowplow accident depends on what entity owns and operated the snowplow and, in some cases, the driver. Some snowplows are owned and operated by private contractors or maintenance staff within a private company. For example, many private maintenance companies may be contracted to plow a company or building’s parking lot; or, a private organization may have their own maintenance staff operate the snowplows. In other cases, snowplows are owned and/or operated by municipalities or state agencies, like the New Jersey Department of Transportation. There are many key differences between filing a claim against a private company or individual and filing a claim against a public entity.
Filing a Claim for a Snowplow Accident Against a Public Entity
If you’ve been injured in a snowplow accident owned and/or operated by a public entity, it’s important to consult with an experienced injury attorney familiar with pursuing claims against the government. First, the statute of limitations in New Jersey is very short. You must file a notice to file a claim within 90 days of the injury. From there, specific deadlines are set and specific procedures must be followed.
Filing a Claim for a Snowplow Accident Against a Commercial Company or Driver
To file a claim against a commercial company or driver, you must prove negligence occurred on the part of one of those entities. Reasons for negligence could include behavior on the part of the driver, such as speeding or driver fatigue. The commercial entity could be found to be negligent if the equipment was not maintained properly, safety standards were not met or other reasonable protocols were not followed.
Compensation for Damages After a Snowplow Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a snowplow accident, you may be eligible to file a personal claim and recover compensation for your injuries, in both scenarios of liability described above. A personal injury claim can cover the cost of medical bills, transportation to and from medical appointments, lost income, and monetary compensation for your pain and suffering. In cases of serious injury or wrongful death, a personal injury claim can also recover compensation for future lost income, long-term medical care, and burial expenses.
Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
Liability in a snowplow accident can be complex. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we have decades of experience and a proven track record of success getting justice for accident victims. We believe that negligent individuals should be held accountable for their actions, especially when those actions can cause additional financial strain to injured victims. Our dedicated and caring law firm will protect your rights during your pursuit of justice. Contact us today for a free consultation.