From motor vehicle collisions to an increase in slip and fall accidents, winter weather and negligence make for a deadly combination
Winter weather is nothing new for New Jersey and other parts of the Northeast. However, each time a major storm threatens, the same warnings are issued reminding citizens of the potential dangers associated with heavy snow and icy conditions. Unfortunately, these warnings often go unnoticed and a number of accidents directly linked to winter weather are inevitable.
Car accidents are one of the most common winter weather-related accidents. Statistics show that almost 4,000 people have been killed in snow and ice related car accidents over the past five years. Closer to home New Jersey averages 10 to 19 deadly winter auto accidents while neighboring states Pennsylvania and New York average more than 40. Blizzard conditions can reduce visibility to essentially zero and black ice is invisible to drivers until their car is already skidding off the road. Speeding during winter weather can prevent a car from stopping in time when faced with icy roads or debris-blocked roads. Multi-car pileups involving trucks and jack-knifed tractor-trailers can lead to tragic consequences. When winter weather conditions are severe enough, travel may be banned for all non-emergency personnel. Failing to follow these orders can lead to preventable accidents and also prevent law enforcement from answering other calls for service. Snow plows and salt trucks need access to clear roadways and nonessential motorists and pedestrians can interfere with their progress.
In addition to motor vehicle accidents, snow and ice also contribute to many types of premises liability cases. Property owners must take reasonable measures to protect customers, visitors and guests from potentially hazardous conditions. Snow should be cleared from walkways and parking lots. Salt and other anti-slip precautions should be utilized to reduce slippery stairwells and sidewalks. Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken arms, legs, wrists and hips
- Abrasions and lacerations
- Dislocated shoulders and knees
Snow accumulation can also threaten roofs and cause cave-ins. When temperatures drop, heat is a valuable commodity. Many people mistakenly use generators or space heaters. If a unit is defective or used improperly, fires or carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to significant injuries and death.
Severe winter weather requires that everyone take additional steps to prevent accidents. Negligence is a costly mistake and leads to numerous preventable deaths and significant injuries each year. If you or a loved one has been involved in a winter weather-related accident, contact a team of well-respected and trial-tested attorneys at Leonard Legal Group by phone at (973) 984-1414 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.