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Can I make a claim for a road traffic accident caused by bad weather?

View profile for Michael Pace
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If you have been involved in a road traffic accident, we understand how much of an impact this may have had on your life. The winter months with ice, snow and heavy rain can make driving a hazardous activity, leading to road traffic accidents and personal injury claims. Poor weather conditions can add an element of difficulty in bringing a personal injury claim, as it makes it harder to show who was at fault.

Can I make a claim?

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident in the last three years where another party was at least partially to blame, you may be able to make a claim. Even if you were not in a collision with another vehicle, if main roads were not properly maintained, you may be able to make a claim against the party responsible such as the local council or Highway Authority.

Claims against other road users

If you are involved in a road traffic accident where another driver loses control and crashes into you as a result of bad weather, it is possible to bring a claim against that driver. It is difficult for road users to avoid ice and snow, but where they fail to drive according to the conditions, they may have acted negligently.

Similarly, if you are a passenger in a car, you may have a claim against the driver responsible. You have  to prove that the driver acted negligently, but an experienced solicitor will be able to advise you as to whether you have a good claim, and what evidence may be required to support your claim. The fact that the driver lost control is a good place to start from.

Claims against local authorities

Local councils are legally obligated to keep the roads safe. For example, highway authorities have a responsibility to ensure that roads are adequately gritted and salted to protect road users. If they fail in this obligation, you could make a claim.  However, this duty is not absolute. Local councils are only required to take ‘reasonable steps’ to ensure the safety of road users, and the courts do not place an onerous duty on them to do so, as it would expose councils to excessive liability. Councils are only expected to react to the information given to them and take appropriate and reasonable action to mitigate the chance of an accident occurring. Again, an experienced solicitor will be able to advise you as to whether your claim against a local authority will be likely to succeed.

ROAD TRAFFIC LAW SERVICES

Our specialist Road Traffic Law team can assist you with all aspects of motor law. If you require assistance please contact:

Michael Pace
Michael.pace@chattertons.com 
01522 781466