After the massive snow storms of recent days, many have experienced the flying snow and ice scenario, where a car or truck is driving at high speeds with piles of snow and ice on their vehicles. Although some may believe that bad weather provides them with some sort of “natural” immunity for failing to take the time required to remove the snow from their vehicles and that nature will simply takes its course, the opposite is actually true. Should an operator fail to remove snow and ice that ultimately flies from their vehicle into another, and particularly if that flying debris causes property damage or an accident, the driver of the vehicle can and should be held liable for negligence in failing to take action to remove all snow and ice that could project into another vehicle.
Some states, like Pennsylvania, have state laws that require complete snow removal from vehicles before they are operated. In Maryland, no such state law is on the books. The common law of negligence, however, dictates that a driver who fails to take appropriate action to remove obvious snow and ice from their vehicles will be held accountable for damage and injuries should the debris dislodge. This concept is akin to operating a vehicle with a known mechanical defect that results in an accident. Drivers should take the time and make the effort to remove all snow and ice from their vehicles. Otherwise, they can and should expect a claim against their insurance policy. Severe accidents and injuries from flying snow and ice debris are reported daily. Drivers are on notice by virtue of their own driving experience and common sense that the operation of a vehicle under such conditions is a danger to other motorists on the highways.
The lawyers at Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz have successfully represented victims of accidents caused by flying snow and ice debris. In the event of such an incident, be sure to control your vehicle first, and then take note of as much information as possible about the at-fault vehicle. Should you be unable to get sufficient identifying information about that vehicle, report the incident immediately to the police and your insurance company, who will likely establish an uninsured motorist claim on your behalf. Such a claim will protect your rights and afford you compensation for property damage and personal injury, and will have no adverse impact on your insurance rates, renewal, or your general insurability. Please consult with a lawyer right away, particularly if you have suffered personal injury. We are available, free of charge, to discuss your case.