Was the Accident Caused by Snow or Ice or the Other Driver?

When an accident happens and you file a personal injury suit, the other driver will often claim that it was the weather’s fault for the crash and not their own.

Was the Accident Caused by Snow or Ice or the Other Driver?However, unless the weather was perfect at the time of the crash, it can be seen in New Jersey courts as a contributor to a car accident.  And even when the weather is perfect, other factors, like the setting sun in the driver’s eyes or the lack of light on a dark street, can influence a case. In reality, nearly all accidents are influenced by an exterior problem that made it more difficult—even slightly more difficult—to drive a vehicle.

However, that does not mean that every crash was avoidable or that every driver was without fault. Conditions like snow or ice do not excuse poor driving. On the contrary, poor conditions like these actually require drivers to exercise even greater caution and be even more attentive. A good lawyer knows this and refuses to let a driver off the hook when they caused a crash that hurt you, even if they claim that bad weather was to blame.

How Do Car Accident Lawsuits Work?

Car accident lawsuits are actually a type of personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits are brought by people who have been hurt by someone else’s negligence and want to be compensated for their losses.
Personal injury claims must include each of the following four components:

1. The person they are suing owed them a legal duty to keep them safe or out of harm’s way.
2. That person did not uphold this legal duty.
3. This failure was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
4. The plaintiff was, in fact, hurt in the accident.

Driver’s Have a Legal Duty to Keep Others Safe

Anybody who drives a car owes a legal duty to drive reasonably safely for the conditions found on the road. Determining what constitutes “reasonable safe driving” in any given circumstance can be difficult. However, some basic guidelines obviously need to be followed, including:

• Driving at a speed that is neither too slow nor too fast.
• Obeying traffic laws.
• Keeping a safe distance from the car in front.
• Being attentive enough for potential hazards to avoid them before creating an accident.

Even in pristine driving conditions, determining whether someone was driving reasonably safely can be difficult. For example, if someone was going five miles per hour over the speed limit, but so was everyone else on the road, does that automatically make them unsafe? In many cases, it falls to the jury to decide whether a driver’s conduct on the road was reasonably safe or not.

How Does The Weather Influence a Driver’s Legal Duty To Keep Others Safe?

How Does The Weather Influence a Driver's Legal Duty To Keep Others Safe?A driver’s legal duty to keep others safe on the road has this important aspect: they must adapt to road conditions. For example, someone driving at the speed limit and staying a two-car lengths’ distance from the car in front of them would be driving reasonably safely when the sun is shining. But when the roads are icy and snowing, that probably won’t be safe enough. So instead, the road conditions require the driver to slow down even more and increase their following distance.

When the weather is bad and driving conditions poor, drivers are legally required to adapt to ensure others’ safety on the road. However, when they fail to adapt their driving technique to the conditions they face, they can be held liable for the accidents they cause.

Poor Weather Does Not Take The Blame For Poor Driving

So, if you get hurt in a car accident in New Jersey, and the other driver claims they aren’t responsible because the weather was terrible, be assured that the weather does not automatically absolve them of their role in the crash. While the weather might have been horrible—icy roads, heavy rain, snow, or fog that reduced visibility, stiff gusts of wind that made it difficult to steer—drivers still have a legal responsibility to drive in a manner that is reasonably safe for those exact conditions. In other words, if the driver were driving the way he or she would in perfect conditions, then they were likely failing to uphold their responsibility to keep others safe.

In Sum, Bad Weather Demands Better Driving

When a potentially negligent driver tries to blame the weather for their role in a car accident that harmed you, it is often an attempt to avoid liability—that will fail. In summary, poor weather conditions actually require better and safer driving techniques than would have been necessary with nice weather.

Consult with Personal Injury Attorneys

The car accident and personal injury attorneys at The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson are accustomed to drivers claiming that the crash was the weather’s fault and not their own. But our attorneys can turn these claims back against them and use them to convince a jury that bad road conditions required the driver to drive even more safely than normal.

Using these legal tactics, we can fight for your interests, both in the courtroom with the jury and outside the courtroom with insurance companies.

With us fighting for you, you can be confident that everything will be done to ensure that you get the compensation that you need and deserve after the crash that hurt you.

Contact us at (609) 528-2596 in New Jersey if you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident and the other driver blames the weather.

Aggressive Driving and Road Rage Laws in New Jersey

New Jersey is known for its bumper-to-bumper traffic, complicated roads, and intense, often combative drivers. Trenton and Somerset NJ Attorneys Discuss. 

Aggressive Driving and Road Rage Laws in New JerseySometimes, congested highways and people in a hurry provide the perfect storm for road rage to rear its ugly head.  Road rage is not just offensive, it can be hazardous, and it is a problem that has been on the rise as more and more vehicles fill the same congested streets. In recent studies done by AAA, throughout the United States, more than 80% of drivers admitted to driving aggressively.

Aggressive driving can include actions that one may consider a normal part of driving, such as speeding, cutting others off, honking the horn repeatedly, or using angry hand gestures.  In some unfortunate instances, that aggressive driving turns into road rage.  It is estimated that thousands of people have been seriously injured every year due to road rage, and hundreds have been killed.

What is Road Rage?

Road rage is aggressive or angry behavior exhibited by motorists. These behaviors include rude and offensive gestures, verbal insults, physical threats, or dangerous driving methods, including longhorn honks, swerving, tailgating, or brake checking. Those actions are targeted toward another driver or non-drivers such as pedestrians or cyclists to intimidate or release frustration. Road rage can lead to altercations, damage to property, assaults, and collisions that result in serious physical injuries or even death. At times, drivers will get out of their vehicles to start a physical fight on the roadway.

How prevalent is road rage in New Jersey?

A survey consisting of 1,012 New Jersey consumers with valid driver licenses who operate a vehicle at least once per week included questions about personal driving behavior and observed driving behavior to measure tendencies and attitudes regarding aggressive driving. The study had a 95 percent confidence interval and +/- 2 percent margin of error. It was conducted by Plymouth Rock Management Company of New Jersey, and the findings were shocking:

  • 99% witnessed at least one road rage incident
  • 96% perceived that other drivers disobey posted speed limits on major highways
  • 89% witnessed other drivers change lanes without signaling
  • 59% witnessed other drivers make insulting gestures
  • 35% reported occasional “uncontrollable anger” behind the wheel
  • 11% witnessed other drivers engage in physical altercations

How are aggressive driving and road rage different?

How are aggressive driving and road rage different?Road rage occurs when there is intent to produce bodily harm to someone else.  A driver engaging in road rage may use his vehicle as a weapon or use something else in the car to harm the other person.  According to the American Safety Council, over one-third of road rage cases involve firearms.  Road rage is considered a criminal offense due to the attack’s intentional nature and is taken very seriously by law enforcement. While equally uncalled for, aggressive driving is a much milder form of driving and is usually limited to a small incident, not resulting in damage.

How have New Jersey road rage laws changed?

A 2012 law termed “Jessica’s Law” was created after a 16-year old girl named Jessica Rogers was disabled in a car accident that resulted from road rage. Although she had had two dozen surgeries since the accident, the other car driver spent only four months in jail. Jessica worked to create stiffer penalties for road rage that results in injury to another, saying that while she serves a life sentence, the man who caused her injuries received only 4 months in prison.

After successfully lobbying in the state’s Assembly, the bill was passed unanimously, and Jessica’s Law became a reality.

Under the new law, if road rage leads to a serious injury, such as Jessica’s, the driver can be charged with a third-degree offense. Third-degree offenses in New Jersey are punishable with three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.  If the aggressive driving leads to injuries of a lesser degree, the driver can be charged with a fourth-degree offense, which is punishable with up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

How can I avoid getting angry when I drive?

Leave on time.

If you feel less rushed, you will have less reason to get upset by other drivers.

Listen to music.

If you listen to music, you have something that distracts you. Music has a calming effect.  Audiobooks are a good idea as well.

Pull Over.

No, don’t pull off where the other driver went to. Instead, pull off someplace else, get out of your car, and do some deep breathing for a few minutes.

Make your car as comfortable as possible.

Your surroundings affect your mood. So if it’s hot, crank up your AC. If it’s cool, then turn your heater on.

Realize other people sometimes make bad choices.

People talk on their cell phones, eat, and even put on makeup or shave while driving. That makes them even more dangerous to be sharing the road with, so keep your wits about you and focus on getting to where you are going.

What should I do if I encounter road rage from another driver?

If angry drivers target you, try these tips:

  1. Call 911 and request help.
  2. Drive to a nearby police station, fire station, or a hectic parking lot.
  3. Attempt to get out of the way of the other driver as safe as possible.
  4. Do not look at or acknowledge the enraged driver.
  5. Do not drive home while being actively pursued.
  6. Practice defensive driving.

Contact an Experienced Trenton Personal Injury Attorney Today

Road rage accidents are often instigated by unnecessary confrontations that are better left alone. Unfortunately, these confrontations can have devastating and deadly conclusions.  At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our diligent New Jersey experienced attorneys strive to hold responsible parties accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

To schedule a confidential case assessment with our firm today, please contact our online file or through our Morristown, NJ office at (609) 528-2596.

What if I am Partially at Fault in an Accident?

Our attorneys have the skill and experience to assist in recovery even if you are somewhat at fault in Hamilton Township, Trenton, Ewing and across Mercer and Middlesex County

What if I am Partially at Fault in an Accident?In many cases involving personal injuries, each party involved bears some responsibility.  People often think that they cannot recover if they are partially at fault. This is incorrect as you may be entitled to recover even if you are partially responsible for causing the accident.  

What makes a person legally responsible for an accident?

In most circumstances, a person can be deemed liable for injuries that resulted due to their negligent or reckless conduct that caused the accident.   For the most part, your attorney must establish that the responsible party did something, or failed to do something that a reasonable person would have done.  For example, if you are driving on a public road at the posted speed limit and you are t-boned by an oncoming truck because he failed to stop at a stop sign, the other driver is the negligent party.  

Most juries or insurance companies would find the driver of the truck to be negligent because he failed to do that which was required and what a reasonable person would do, which is to stop at the stop sign.  His negligence is established by the accident report, witness statements, and damage to your vehicle. More importantly, it is clear that the accident would not have occurred had he adhered to the motor vehicle code and stopped at the stop sign.  

However, what if you are partially to blame for the accident because you were speeding (going twice the limit) and did not yield or slow down at the intersection? It is possible that the other driver will establish that you are partially at fault in the accident, but it is unlikely that you will be barred from recovery. 

Can I recover if I am at fault?

Can I recover if I am at fault?As noted above, even if you are partially responsible for the accident, you can still seek recovery. Your responsibility is reviewed under a theory known as comparative negligence or fault.  In the example above, you may bear some responsibility in the accident, but it remains clear that the other driver is mostly at fault because he blew through the stop sign and t-boned you. The actual damage and location of the damage to the car proves that you were already in the intersection when hit.  Had the driver heeded the road sign and stopped, he would not have hit you. This means that he is mostly at fault. 

In order for you to be prevented from recovery, the other party would have to prove that you are mostly at fault.   In essence, the other driver must prove that you were 51% at fault in causing the accident and he is therefore not legally responsible for your injuries.  

Fundamentally, you are entitled to recover if the other person is 51% or more at fault.  This is not to say that you are without limitation in terms of recovery if you are partially responsible.  Your financial award will likely be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. For instance, if the total compensation awarded is $100,000 and you are deemed 25% responsible, the award you receive will be reduced to $75,000 to reflect your percentage of fault.  

How can an attorney help me?

Experienced attorneys know what to look for and how to prove or disprove fault.  We have seen countless accidents that appear at first glance to be clear and limit recovery. Despite the general consensus of the case by all parties involved, we continue to investigate and uncover evidence establishing the other party’s responsibility in the action.  We fiercely protect your rights and advocate on your behalf whether through negotiation or trial. We leave no stone unturned in challenging responsibility and establishing negligence. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.  

Contact our East Brunswick and Trenton Motor Vehicle Accident Injury Attorneys Today

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our staff of attorneys has experience in exploring options in a no-fault and comparative negligence law to ensure that drivers across Hamilton Township, Trenton, Ewing and across Mercer County receive their fair share of recoveries after an automobile accident that was not their fault.

To speak with our firm today and conduct a thorough case assessment regarding your auto accident and injury, please call us at (609) 528-2596 or fill out our online form today.

What Mercer County Cyclists Need to Know in the Event of an Accident

Serving Personal Injury and Auto accidents injured clients across New Jersey and Pennsylvania with offices in Trenton, Bensalem, and Philadelphia

What Cyclists Need to Know in the Event of an AccidentAny cyclist knows that sharing the roadway with motor vehicles can be dangerous.  Despite taking every precaution, such as wearing a helmet, obeying traffic laws, and wearing appropriate attire, accidents happen. If a driver caused your injuries and is at fault, you are entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and loss of past and future earnings.  Below, we will discuss some common causes of accidents involving cyclists and the negligent acts of others that may contribute to these accidents.

There are many causes of bicycle accidents.  Some accidents and injuries are due to rider error, while others are caused by motorists, objects in the roadway, and distractions. One of the most dangerous types of accidents that cause the most serious injuries involve motor vehicles.

Bicycle Accidents Caused by Motor Vehicles and Distracted Drivers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that thirty percent of all bicycle accidents occur with a motor vehicle. One of the main reasons for motor vehicle accidents is due to distracted drivers.

At any given time, if you pay attention to drivers as they pass by, you will see them talking on cell phones, eating, or playing with the radio. One of the most dangerous activities displayed by motorists is texting while driving. Studies have shown that one text will take a driver’s eyes off the road for at least five seconds.  Taking your eyes off the road for any length of time can cause major injuries and fatalities, but five seconds is an especially extreme amount of time when it comes to an unprotected cyclist.  Close your eyes, count to five slowly: Doing so demonstrates just how long five seconds really is.  One text could mean the difference between life or death for a cyclist.  Injuries caused by distractions are injuries that should never happen, as all drivers are required to pay careful attention to the roadway.  As a result, if a distracted driver causes an accident with a cyclist, the driver will be legally at fault and the cyclist may be eligible for financial compensation. While distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents, it is not the only cause of collisions with cyclists.

Injuries to Cyclist due to Motorists Speeding and Failure to Obey Traffic Laws

Motorists can be at fault in other ways.  For example, in most residential neighborhoods in New Jersey, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour.   Motorists often disobey the posted speed limit and, in doing so, they demonstrate a lack of regard for the well-being of others. A driver has a responsibility to obey all traffic laws for his own safety, as well as for the safety of others on the roadway. Going over the speed limit can be considered reckless and careless in both civil and criminal court. If the motorist is taken to civil court, he or she would be at fault for something called operator liability. Similarly, drunk driving is yet another way in which drivers display reckless and careless behavior that may cause accidents and injury to cyclists.

Drunk Drivers Responsible For Cyclist and Pedestrian Injuries

Those that drive impaired or drink and drive are deemed to be operating a motor vehicle in an unsafe manner.  Anyone who drives impaired and causes injury to another will be liable for the injuries caused to another person because the court recognizes that, but for the drunk driving, there would be no injury.  For example, if you are riding your bicycle in the bike lane and a drunk driver swerves into your lane and hurts you, they are responsible. Evidence that the driver was impaired will serve as proof in a civil claim that the driver is at fault for your injuries and financial losses.

In the drunk driving example, it is easy to see how the driver would be responsible, but not all accidents involving cyclists are as egregious. Sometimes, they can be caused by simple mistakes made by drivers.  Often, drivers are hurrying from place to place and do not want to be slowed down by a bicyclist.  Sometimes, an accident is caused by something as simple as not giving a cyclist enough space or room to travel. Regardless, a driver is responsible if he or she fails to drive with reasonable care, thereby causing an accident.

Causes of Bike Accidents Not Involving Motor Vehicles

Contact Our Mercer County Cyclists Accident and Car Injury Attorneys TodayWhile motor vehicle accidents account for serious injuries to cyclists, they are not the only cause of accidents or injuries to cyclists.  There can be any number of reasons for cyclist accidents. For example, another cause of cyclist accidents is poor roadway conditions.  Potholes, loose or uneven pavement or objects in the roadway can cause cyclists to lose balance and fall.  Missing road signs or faulty signals can be to blame as well.  In other cases, the accident may have been caused by a faulty bicycle or part, meaning the manufacturer caused the bike to malfunction.

Whatever the reason for the injury, if you believe someone else is at fault, you should seek legal assistance.  Speaking with our experienced attorneys will help you determine the potential legal responsibility of another party and whether you may be entitled to a recovery.  While financial compensation cannot make up for the injuries suffered by you or a loved one, it can make a difference in your medical recovery and financial stability.

Contact Our Mercer County Injury Attorneys Today if Injured in a Bicycle Accident

There are many ways a bicycle accident can occur, and basically all of them can be devastating. If you or a loved one have suffered injury in a bike-related accident, contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer at The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson and discuss the particular details of your accident.

Reach out to our firm for a free consultation by filling our online contact application or through our Trenton, NJ office and calling at (609) 528-2596.