All motorists have a duty to operate their vehicle with the care and skill
of any other reasonable prudent driver under the circumstances present
when operating the vehicle. This duty exists so that potential harm to
others may be avoided. It puts motorists on notice that if he or she does
not operate a vehicle with the requisite care and skill under variable
circumstances, civil liability will arise.
Kingston car accident case, you need to prove multiple elements to be successful; all elements must
be satisfied. This duty aforementioned is just one of those elements;
more than just a duty is necessary to find a person civilly negligent.
In addition to the duty, there must be a showing in court that the duty
was breached. Further, it must be pleaded and proved that the breach was
what caused the injury. And of course, it must be found that the victim
suffered some form of damages.
There are many different types of damages in a
car accident case. Typically, damages can be compensatory in nature. That is, they are to
reimburse a party for the costs that he or she paid recovering from the
accident. Lost wages may be included in addition to medical expenses.
Damages may be punitive as well. This means that a party may pay additional
damages as a form of punishment. Civil courts generally stay away from
punitive damages as such is reserved for the most egregious behavior;
wanton and reckless behavior, for example.
Driving in Snow and Ice: Added Risk, Added Duty
The duty of reasonable care is highly dependent upon the environment and
weather conditions present at the time of a car accident. Driving on snow
and/or ice in the Mid-Hudson Valley region presents special problems for
motorists and may affect a driver’s liability if an accident happens.
If you were injured while driving in Kingston during inclement weather,
you should contact an experienced Newburgh car accident attorney so that
your rights are protected.
Driving during inclement winter weather is not always easy, but nonetheless
motorists must still keep their vehicle under control. While one cannot
control what other drivers do, one must still “look out” and
be aware of how others are driving. Additionally, one must pay attention
to one’s own control over the vehicle especially in regard to maintaining
the appropriate speed and distance from other vehicles depending on the
weather conditions present at the time.
Accidents Caused by Skidding on Snow and Ice
Typical Mid-Hudson Valley region winter accidents involve the loss of vehicle
control while skidding on snow and/or ice. This type of skidding will
not make the motorist automatically civilly liable for the resultant harm
that came about. It may be evidence of negligence, but not automatically
negligence. The skidding will be considered along with all of the other
facts present at the time of the accident, such as visibility, speed,
the amount of light, the congestion of traffic, how other drivers were
operating their vehicles, among many other factors. Keep in mind that
“reasonable care” will be determined based on these types
The Emergency Doctrine: A Potential Hurdle
While the type of weather present at a given moment may have been foreseeable
because of weather reports and forecasts, occurrences while on the road
are not typically foreseeable. Reacting to an unforeseeable occurrence
may protect a motorist from civil liability. This concept is called the
“Emergency Doctrine.” So long as the unforeseeable occurrence
was not created by a driver, he or she could very well avoid liability.
The key to the emergency doctrine defense is that first, a true emergency
was present; and second, the person using the defense must not have created
Problems with Visibility: Whiteouts and Snowy Windows
Given the severe weather conditions that Kingston motorists face, such
as blizzard conditions where visibility could be reduced to less than
a quarter mile, drivers must change the way in which a vehicle is operated.
If a driver should have been able to see something on the roadway, then
he or she will be charged with the responsibility to have seen such, even
though visibility was poor. Driving under winter conditions typically
require slowing down, stopping sooner, and keeping the windshield free
from snow and ice accumulation. If a motorist did not do these things,
and a jury finds that he should have done them, then liability will arise.
Each and every of these facts will be considered by the jury when introduced
into evidence along with weather reports and police reports detailing
the accident. Again, the case will hinge upon the reasonableness of the
driver actions. If reasonable, then he or she may not be liable; however,
if unreasonable, a duty is breached and a Kingston jury may find a driver
liable if the breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries.