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21/12/2020

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

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 ascertaining who was at fault more difficult. In this article, we look at some of the critical issues surrounding road traffic accidents in bad weather.

Can I bring 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 bring a claim. Even if you were not in a collision with another vehicle, if main roads were not properly maintained or signposted, you may be able to bring a claim against the party responsible such as the local council.

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 may be possible to bring a claim against the driver at fault. It is challenging for road users to avoid ice and snow, but where they fail to take extra precautions, they may have acted negligently.
Similarly, if you are a passenger in a car, you may have a claim against the driver responsible. It can be challenging 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.

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 bring a claim. However, this duty is not absolute. Local councils are 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 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.

For all personal injury matters contact our personal injury team