The annual snowfall in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois is typically measured in feet rather than inches. Throughout our snowy winters, snowplows are supposed to help prevent accidents by clearing roads of snow and ice. Unfortunately, these large vehicles can also be involved in serious motor vehicle crashes that result in injuries or death.
How Snowplow Accidents Happen
You may not know exactly what caused the accident at the scene of the crash. However, a full investigation is likely to show that someone’s negligence was the primary cause of the accident. The negligent party may be the snowplow driver, the snowplow company, or another driver.
The snowplow driver may have caused the accident if the driver was:
- Following too closely
Sometimes, the snowplow driver does everything right and an accident still occurs. The snowplow company may have caused the crash if the company:
- Was negligent in hiring the snowplow driver.
- Failed to train the snowplow driver
- Failed to maintain the snowplow properly
Finally, sometimes other drivers who are distracted, drunk, drowsy, speeding, inexperienced in driving in winter weather, or otherwise negligent force the snowplow to swerve or go off the road and cause an accident.
Types of Snowplow Accidents and Injuries
The different forms of negligence described above can result in various types of accidents, such as:
- Head-on crashes. A snowplow driver who crosses the center line, veers from their lane, or goes the wrong way down a one-way street may cause a head-on collision.
- Rear-end accidents. A plow driver who is speeding or following another vehicle too closely may crash into the vehicle in front of them.
- Intersection accidents. It takes longer to stop on snowy or icy roads than on dry roads. An inexperienced, distracted, or otherwise negligent snowplow driver may fail to stop for a traffic signal or stop sign and cause a dangerous crash.
- Hitting a parked car. You may have been parked on the side of the road because of weather conditions or for other reasons. If a plow hits your car, it could do significant damage to your car and you may suffer injuries.
- Forcing you off the road. If the snowplow driver was in your lane, your only choice may have been to go off the road to avoid a collision.
- Pedestrian accidents. These types of crashes are more likely in parking lots or on city streets where pedestrians are on sidewalks or attempting to cross the street.
Any of these accidents may result in catastrophic injuries, including but not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Eye injuries
- Dental injuries
- Internal injuries
- Nerve damage
The most severe snowplow accidents may result in death.
What to Do After a Snowplow Accident
The actions you take after a snowplow accident can help protect your recovery. Specifically, you can:
- Stop safely. Remember, other vehicles may have a hard time avoiding your vehicle if visibility is low or the roads are slippery.
- Call the police. The police may come to investigate the accident and make sure that everyone gets medical attention. However, if your accident happens at the height of a blizzard, the police may not be able to come to the accident scene.
- Exchange information with the snowplow driver. This includes the driver’s name, driver’s license number, and insurance information. Additionally, you should ask the driver whether they work for a private snowplow company or the city or state.
- Get contact information for anyone who witnessed the crash. Witnesses may be helpful in determining fault.
- Take photos and video of the accident scene. Take as many pictures as you can of your vehicle, the snowplow, any other vehicles involved in the crash, the area surrounding the crash, and your injuries. The weather conditions may interfere with the quality of the photos, so you may also consider taking videos at the accident scene.
- Accept medical attention. Some injuries don’t have immediate symptoms. Therefore, it’s important to get medical attention even if you don’t feel hurt.
- Report the accident to your insurer. Provide your insurer with the date, time, and location of the accident, but do not give any additional information to your insurer before speaking with an attorney.
- Call a personal injury lawyer. An attorney can make sure that all of your rights are protected and that you don’t make a potentially costly mistake.
Together, these steps may help you get the financial compensation you deserve.
Potential Damages in a Snowplow Accident Injury Case
If your snowplow case is successful, you may be able to recover compensation for your past, current, and future:
- Medical costs including ambulance transportation, hospitalizations, surgeries, doctors’ visits, medications, rehabilitation therapies, and assistive medical devices.
- Lost income for any wages, benefits, bonuses, raises, or income from self-employment your accident injuries keep you from earning.
- Out-of-pocket costs for property damage and expenses made necessary by your injuries.
- Pain and suffering for your physical pain and emotional suffering.
These damages won’t come to you automatically, however. You will have to fight for them, and you have the right to fight with the help of an experienced lawyer.
Now Is the Time to Contact a Snowplow Accident Lawyer
Snowplow accidents can be complicated. If you were involved in an accident with a snowplow, an experienced accident lawyer can determine who caused the crash and who should pay your damages. Our investigation will include but is not limited to who was driving the snowplow, who owned and operated the snowplow, and why the accident happened.
The actions you take next may be different if the snowplow was operated by a city or town, the state of Wisconsin, Iowa, or Illinois, or a private contractor. You may have considerably less time to pursue a lawsuit if you are suing a municipality or state.
Over the last 50+ years, Hupy and Abraham has helped injured accident victims recover more than $1 billion for their injuries. Today, we are here to help you. We invite you to contact us for a free consultation in our 11 personal injury law offices located throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa, in your home or hospital room, or by phone or video conference.