Call for a Free Consultation : 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT

Does the Standard of Care Change in Winter Weather?

Can a Person Be Held to a Higher Standard in Snowy or Icy Weather?

does-the-standard-of-care-change-in-winter-weatherIt’s winter in New Jersey and that means you can expect snow and ice on the roads, making conditions potentially more dangerous. Can a jury find that you were negligent and caused an accident, even if you were obeying the posted speed limit? In other words, is there a higher standard of care in inclement weather? Let’s take a closer look at how the law defines negligence.

To successfully prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, you must show three things:

  • That the defendant (person from whom you seek compensation) did not act as a reasonable person would
  • That the failure to act reasonably caused an accident
  • That you suffered actual losses because of the accident

How Does a Jury Determine the Standard of Care?

When determining liability, the jury will compare the actions of the defendant to what “a reasonable person” would have done, under the same circumstances. The law does not specifically identify exactly what that behavior would be, but allows the jury to make a determination, on a case-by-case basis, as to whether or not the actions of the potentially at-fault driver were reasonable. The two key components of that test are:

  • What would be considered reasonable behavior?
  • What were the unique circumstances?

Though there’s no guarantee that a jury would hold a driver to higher standard in snowy or icy weather, it’s highly likely. The jury could easily conclude that a reasonable person would know (or expect) that it would be more difficult to stop or control a car in snow or ice, requiring that the driver take extra precautions to minimize the risk of a collision. Those extra precautions would include driving at a slower speed and allowing more room for braking. Accordingly, even if the defendant was traveling below the posted speed limit, the jury may conclude that the speed was unreasonable, given the weather conditions.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

© 2019 karbasianlaw All Rights Reserved.
Concept, Design & Hosting by GetLegal's Practice Builder Team Sitemap | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy