Liability for Motor Vehicle Accidents in New Jersey Winters

Are the Rules Different for Snowy and Icy Conditions?

Liability for Motor Vehicle Accidents in New Jersey WintersWhen you live in New Jersey, you expect that, for some portion of the winter, you’ll be driving on snow-covered or even icy roads. Snowy roads and snowy conditions consistently lead to an increase in auto accidents, with about one in four weather-related accidents involving snowy streets and highways, and another 15% occurring during snowstorms. That’s about half of all weather-related wrecks.

While the rules that govern liability for motor vehicle accidents don’t change in the winter, the application of the rules necessarily leads to a different standard of care that should be exercised on snow or ice, or during a snowstorm. Under New Jersey law, a person driving a motor vehicle, regardless of the time of year or the weather conditions, must act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances. There is no specific type of behavior that must be exercised, but after an accident, if a lawsuit is filed, the jury must determine whether the parties followed the acted according to the accepted standard of care.

So, even though the law does not require that a motorist travel slower in snowy or icy conditions, a jury would may find that traveling at the posted rate of speed on very slippery roads or during a blizzard would not be considered reasonable. A jury may also find that the standard care in the winter requires that a motorist maintain a greater distance from the car in front of him.

There are laws that require New Jersey motorists to remove accumulated snow and ice from their cars before going on the road. Those are criminal sanctions that may lead to fines, but do not impose civil liability. A jury may conclude, however, that the standard posed by the criminal law is a reasonable standard in a personal injury claim.

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At the Lee Law Firm, we have extensive knowledge and experience successfully handling motorcycle accident claims. Call us at 973-315-9080 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary. We welcome all major credit cards. ¡Nosotros hablamos español!

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