Michigan is no stranger to snow in winter. We rely on snowplows to help clear the roads and keep us safe. But what happens if you’re hurt in an accident with a plow truck? It’s important to know your legal rights.
Causes of Snow Plow Accidents in Michigan
Winter weather can be treacherous for motorists. Slippery conditions and covered roads make it difficult to maintain control of a vehicle, even for the most experienced driver. Visibility is also limited when driving in a snowstorm, which may make it difficult to see lane divisions, signs, and spot vehicles in front of you.
Despite their size, plow trucks are difficult to see in whiteout conditions. Recognizing the hazard and an unsettling number of car accidents involving snow plows in recent years, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has equipped its plows with an oscillating green light to increase visibility for drivers.
No-Fault Laws and Snow Plow Accidents
Drivers who are hurt after a collision with a snowplow can seek compensation for their injuries through their own insurers if they carry the no-fault auto insurance required by the state of Michigan. No-fault benefits will cover medical costs, wage loss, and other financial losses stemming from the wreck, no matter who is to blame for the snowplow accident.
Even though you pay for no-fault insurance, there is no guarantee that your insurer will pay you the full amount of benefits to which you are entitled. They’re in the business of saving money, which often comes by reducing payments to policyholders. Getting an attorney to represent you during the claims process can improve your chances of securing maximum compensation.
Negligence by Snow Plow Drivers
If your snowplow accident was not your fault, you may be able to step outside of your no-fault benefits to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party if your injuries meet certain thresholds set by Michigan law. In order to recover compensation for ‘pain and suffering’, the victim must have suffered from death, serious impairment of bodily function, or permanent serious disfigurement in the accident.
Depending on the facts of the case, you may be able to sue the plowing company or the driver for the losses that you sustained from the collision. Many landscaping companies use independent contractors, which raises the question, “Who pays?” That’s something that an experienced snow plow accident lawyer can answer for you.
Government Snow Plows
When a city government owns the snowplow, or even when they have contracted the work out to a local company, you could face an added hurdle to recovering damages: governmental immunity. This legal defense protects government workers from getting sued for injuries caused while doing their jobs. Unless the other driver was “grossly negligent,” you may be limited to what your own insurance will cover.
Hurt? Get Legal Help from Christensen Law
Snowplows are capable of causing serious damage and determining your options for compensation can be tricky. When you’ve got questions, Christensen Law has the answers. Call or contact our Michigan injury lawyers for a free consultation today.