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The winter months provide some hazardous driving conditions as motorists contend with ice, snow, heavy rain, and low sun.

   

Being involved in an accident that is not your fault can be extremely stressful and have a significant impact on your life. However, when poor driving conditions play a part in an accident, it can make bringing a claim very difficult.

   

Our Personal Injury team at Lamb Brooks look at some of the critical issues surrounding road traffic accidents in bad weather and offer some tips for safe winter driving.

   

Claiming For A Road Traffic Accident

 

Claims can be brought for injuries sustained as a result of a road traffic accident, whether you were the driver, a passenger or a pedestrian. A claim can be made when another party was at fault or at least partly to blame for the accident.

   

There are strict time restrictions on personal injury claims (3 years for an adult and 3 years from the date of your 18th birthday if you are a child) and the process can be quite lengthy, so it is worth seeking legal advice as soon as possible to avoid missing deadlines.

   

Poor weather can make ascertaining fault more difficult. Unfortunately, even the most careful drivers, can find themselves losing control at the wheel if the driving conditions are extremely hazardous. But there are a few factors that will mean that a personal injury claim for compensation is still viable.

   

Unsafe Driving

 

Good motorists know that they should adapt their driving to suit the weather conditions. For example, allowing extra braking distance, slowing your speed down or using fog lights when required. When other motorists have failed to take extra precautions and thus caused an accident, they may be liable.

   

Highway or Local Authority Negligence

 

Councils are legally obligated to keep the roads safe. If they fail in this responsibility and you have an accident as a result, then you could bring a claim against them for your pain and suffering. However, highway authorities only have a duty to take ‘reasonable steps’ so you may find that there are some circumstances where they are not liable, for example damages to roads that have not been reported.

   

cars driving in winter on icy roads with snow

7 Top Tips For Winter Driving

 
  • Do not get caught out by the rare appearance of winter sun. When the sun does shine, it can be very bright and low, impacting your vision. Keep a pair of sunglasses in your car, as often the sun is too low for a sun visor to work sufficiently.
 
  • Keep your car / bike in a good state of repair. All year round you should ensure your vehicle is safe and road fit. Keep up to date with your MOTs and services and check tyres and brakes regularly. Particularly in winter, ensure your water and anti-freeze are topped up to avoid engine damage.
 
  • Be prepared. If you do find yourself in an accident or long traffic delays due to bad weather, it is sensible to have a few supplies in your car which can help you in an emergency such as a blanket, torch, snacks, phone power pack, emergency warning triangle etc.
 
  • Clear your windows fully before embarking on your journey. Whilst it can be tempting on a cold, frosty morning to get going, it is imperative to clear your windscreen fully before setting off.
 
  • Change your tyres. If you do a lot of driving or have some long journeys planned it might be worth considering changing to winter tyres to provide more grip on trickier roads.
 
  • Plan ahead. When navigating a long journey in the winter it is advisable to plan your route ahead of time, check for traffic updates and weather warnings before setting off and always give yourself plenty of time in case you run into delays.
 
  • Know your vehicle. It is important to know where your fog lights are, how and when to use them. Most modern cars have anti-locking brake systems to help minimise skidding; know how to use it, but it is important not to rely on this feature alone when driving in ice.
 

Making A Personal Injury Claim

 

If you have been injured in a road traffic accident which was not your fault, then you may wish to explore making a claim for compensation. This claim is separate from your insurance to recover damage to your vehicle and will compensate you for your pain, suffering, medical treatment, loss of earnings and any long-term care or treatment that you require as a result of your injuries.

   

As stated in this article, accidents that are attributed in some way to poor weather can be trickier to pursue, so it is worthwhile seeking advice from an experienced Personal Injury lawyer.

   

Lamb Brooks take on a variety of road traffic accident claims on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis.

   

For more information, an idea of compensation levels or to see if you have a claim please call our Personal Injury department, who have a collective experience of over 100 years in dealing with such matters. Call the office on 01256 844888, email enquiries@lambbrooks.com or speak to one of our Live Chat Assistance via the website at any time of day.

     

Other Articles You May Be Interested in Reading:

What To Do If You Are In A Road Traffic Accident

6 Signs That You May Have a Compensation Claim

What’s The Time Limit For Making a Personal Injury Claim?

 

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.