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Staying Safe This Winter

December 15, 2014 | Posted In Personal Injury/Negligence - Personal Injury |

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas—complete with the snow and ice on the ground and cold temperatures in the air. After Buffalo was buried in more than five feet of snow a few weeks ago, and people’s Thanksgiving plans on the East Coast were subject to a torrent of delays and cancellations as a result of the weather, we can officially say that winter is here.

While the winter wonderland weather helps to set the mood for the holiday season, winter weather itself can contribute to a host of dangerous conditions, according to personal injury attorneys in New Jersey, and caution alone is often not enough. Sometimes dangerous situations cannot be avoided or predicted simply because they occur at the hands of someone else.

Icy Sidewalks

A prime example of a vulnerable situation is an icy sidewalk. Unsuspecting passers-by may not know that the street is icy, or may expect that storefront owners are on top of the situation and have already de-iced and sanded the treacherous paths. However, when such icy conditions are left unattended, the danger to pedestrians and the risk of liability on the part of the responsible party could end in lawsuits and fines.   

Snow Covered Cars

New Jersey law requires all drivers to clear the snow entirely off their cars before they head out on the road. This mandate is to keep snow and ice from obscuring the person’s view while driving and protect others out on the road. Flying snow or chunks of ice from one vehicle may hit the vehicle behind or around it, causing the startled driver to lose control, veer his or her car or it may even break the windshield or windows.

Anyone in violation of this law could be facing fines from $25 to $75, and these amounts increase significantly if any injuries or damages are sustained as a result of uncleaned snow or ice, ranging from $200 to $1,500, depending on severity. The law holds the person whose vehicle has snow or ice on it while moving responsible for any property damage, injury or death caused by those dangerous conditions.

Practice Safe Driving

One of the best ways to protect yourself against injury this winter is to make your travel as safe as possible. Be aware of potentially icy roads or conditions or heavy snow. Make sure your brake lights and turn signal lights are working, and be sure to give adequate warning to other drivers if you are stopping suddenly, turning or slowing down. Do not tailgate, especially in bad weather, as slick roads make for difficult stopping surfaces. Keep a spare coat or blanket in your car in case of injury, and stay alert and awake whenever you have to drive.

At Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, our New Jersey attorneys want everyone to stay safe this holiday season and avoid dangerous situations. Unfortunately, we know that sometimes, despite your best efforts, injuries due to weather or other people’s negligence can happen. If it does, we are here to help. Contact an HCK attorney to discuss your case today. 

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