While many may not enjoy the winter season, it is typically one of the busiest times of year for a personal injury attorney. Connecticut’s icy wintertime roads inevitably lead to more motor vehicle accidents, and thus a larger caseload.
That’s why it is extremely important at this time of year to be
careful when you are operating a car around Connecticut. With that parent-like
advice out of the way, someone asked me a question at a holiday party
that I wanted to share on this blog; who is responsible when a car crash
is the result of Mother Nature?
According to Connecticut law, in order for an injured party to collect
from another person, the injured party typically must show that the other
party acted negligently. This is true under icy or other safer driving
conditions. To be negligent in Connecticut, another party’s operation
of a motor vehicle must not meet, or “breach”, the required
standard of care. The required standard of care is described throughout
Connecticut as that of a reasonably prudent man, but the issues presented
may also be fact-specific. Therefore, people are expected to conform their
actions to their surroundings, and when the roads are in hazardous conditions,
drivers are expected to operate vehicles more carefully, as would a hypothetical
reasonably prudent man.
A potential legal question regarding a motor vehicle accident in Connecticut
occurring in winter that a jury may have submitted to them is whether
the driver of a motor vehicle’s standard of care conformed to the
driving habits of a reasonably prudent person operating in blizzard (or
some other) conditions. Therefore, while the legal questions to prove
fault for car accidents occurring in Connecticut during winter or summer
are generally the same, the facts regarding the accident will ultimately
help determine who is at fault. If the accident is truly the result of
Mother Nature and all cars were operated safely, then maybe no one is
to blame, but as a lawyer generally refuse to accept such claims.