When you live in a state that sees heavy snowfall like Michigan, not only do you have to worry about inclement weather causing poor road conditions, but there are also snowplows to consider. While cities across Michigan use snowplows to help keep the roads safe, these large vehicles themselves can pose a hazard. When the snow is falling and the roads are slippery, snowplows can easily collide with other vehicles and vice versa.
Unfortunately, snowplow accidents can result in severe injuries and vehicles damage. These vehicles are larger and heavier than most passenger vehicles, not to mention having the dangerous plow blade on the front that is used to push and remove snow and ice. Head-on collisions with these trucks can be particularly tragic and fatal as the plow blade can go right through the windshield. Rollover accidents as well, which can be even more tragic, can also occur when colliding with snowplows.
If you or a loved one are involved in a snowplow accident, it is wise to connect with an experienced attorney who can help handle your case. Proving fault and liability in these types of accidents can be challenging, but an attorney can help guide you through the process to ensure all guilty parties are held accountable.
How Snowplow Accidents Occur
Snowplows are frequently used in Flint, Michigan during the winter months, which means it is not uncommon for collisions with these trucks to occur. There are no official federal government statistics on snowplow accidents; however, a study conducted by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that over 1,000 snowplow accidents occurred in 2019 across the United States. However, those are just the ones reported by those who answered their questionnaire, meaning there are likely hundreds if not thousands more that go unreported.
Of the types of snowplow accidents that were reported in Michigan, the most common ones that occurred were:
- Fixed object strikes (the snowplow hit something like a guardrail or a mailbox)
- Rear-end collisions
- Cars being run off of the road by the plow
- Wing plow (blade) strikes
When the snowplow operator was at fault, the reasons for the accidents included:
- Snowplow operator fatigue and sleep deprivation
- Lack of situational awareness
- Inattention and lack of focus
- Snowplow operator complacency
- Improper backing (reversing without looking)
- Lack of training and experience
- Plow being used at the wrong angle
- Misjudging stopping distances
Liability in Snowplow Accidents in Flint
If you get into an accident with a snowplow in Flint, liability will depend on how exactly the accident occurred and what entity owned and operated the snowplow. Potentially liable parties can include:
The Snowplow Driver
If the accident was not your fault but instead resulted from the plow driver’s negligent actions, they may be the one held liable. However, they could be covered under an insurance policy that was taken out by the plow trucks driver or company that owns the plow. In that case, the snowplow owner may be held responsible for the accident.
The Snowplow Company/Owner
The company or individual that owns the snowplow can be held liable if they take responsibility for their drivers (usually, they do). Most companies or individuals who own snowplows will have insurance policies to protect them and their drivers if an accident occurs. So, pursuing a personal injury claim or a lawsuit means you will technically be going after the snowplow owner’s insurance company.
The Company or Person That Hired the Snowplow
If a snowplow driver or company acts negligently, there are some cases where you can go after the person or company that hired them. For example, some businesses will hire snow removal services to clear the roads and parking lots around their establishment. So, even if the driver or snowplow company may be directly responsible, the party who hired them can also potentially be held liable.
In some areas, snowplows are owned and operated by local governments or municipalities, such as the Michigan Department of Transportation. Your state agency or municipality could be held liable, but pursuing filing an injury claim or lawsuit against them is extremely challenging. Local governments often have high-level legal defense teams that protect them from situations like this.
Michigan No-Fault Coverage
In Flint and Michigan, before you can pursue further action against a guilty party, you will likely be required to first seek coverage through your own no-fault insurance coverage. No-fault insurance is required in the state of Michigan. These benefits can cover medical expenses, wage loss, and other financial losses related to the accident and your injuries.
However, there is no guarantee that your no-fault insurance will cover everything. If you feel that you are owed more money than you are getting, it may be necessary to hire a lawyer to help you take further legal action. You deserve to get the maximum compensation to help cover your losses. An experienced personal injury lawyer can advocate for your rights to help you hold all guilty parties accountable. In some situations, this may even include your own insurance company if they are denying you benefits.
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm: Helping Victims of Snowplow Accidents in Flint, Michigan
If you or a loved one have been injured in a snowplow accident, the team at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm can help you win your case. For over 40 years, our attorneys have handled many car accident cases, including those involving private and publicly owned snowplows. We care about the safety and comfort of our clients and will fight tirelessly for their cause.Call our Flint, Michigan personal injury lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) to speak with an experienced attorney. Our consultations are free and confidential, and you’ll pay nothing until we settle your personal injury case.