In Colorado, snowy and icy road conditions are a common cause of car accidents during the winter months. If you are involved in an accident that you believe was caused by snow or ice on the road, it’s important to take steps to prove these weather conditions were the cause. Having evidence that adverse road conditions contributed to the crash can help strengthen your case when filing an insurance claim or lawsuit after the accident.
Snow and Ice in Colorado
Snow and ice are extremely common across Colorado during the winter months. Much of the state receives large snowfalls from November through April, with an average of about 80 inches of snow per year in cities like Denver and Boulder. Heavy snowstorms often make driving treacherous due to snow-covered or icy roads. Even into spring, late-season snow can create hazardous conditions. Snow and ice tend to be especially prevalent in the high country and Rocky Mountains of Colorado, where elevation creates even more wintry precipitation. Colorado drivers must be prepared to deal with frequent snow, ice, and slick conditions throughout the winter.
Document the Road Conditions
The first thing to do at the scene of a winter weather-related accident is to carefully document the road conditions. Take photos and videos that clearly show the presence of snow, slush, or ice on the road where the crash occurred. Get images from different angles and distances to give a complete picture of the hazardous conditions. Also take photos of your own vehicle, the other vehicles involved, and any property damage that resulted from the crash. If it is snowing or sleeting at the time, capture this in your photos or video.
In addition to visual evidence, write down specific details about the road conditions in notes or in your accident report. Include facts such as:
- Estimated depth of snow/slush/ice on the road
- Sections of road that were snow-covered or icy
- Any plowed or untreated areas
- Reduced visibility due to heavy snowfall or blowing snow
Obtain Weather Reports
Official weather reports from the day of your accident will be crucial for substantiating your claim that adverse conditions caused the crash. Contact the National Weather Service to obtain a copy of the local weather report, hazardous road condition reports, winter storm warnings, or any other relevant information that coincides with the time and location of your accident. Having an official record stating, for example, that heavy snowfall led to icy road conditions or visibility under half a mile will help strengthen your case.
Police Accident Report
The police report from the responding officer should contain useful details about the role weather played in the crash. Be sure to obtain a copy of the full accident report, which should document the officer’s assessment of the road conditions at the scene along with any other contributing factors. Having the investigator’s determination that snowy or icy roads led to the accident provides key evidence to support your claim.
If anyone witnessed the accident, get their contact information so you can follow up to obtain a written statement about the conditions that day. Have them describe the road surfaces, visibility issues, and any other relevant weather-related factors they observed that may have led to the crash. Eyewitness accounts of the hazardous wintry conditions will help back up your report of what happened.
Statements from Other Drivers
Talk to the other motorists involved in the crash to collect their own descriptions of the slippery or snow-covered roads that day. Even if they do not take full blame for the accident, their independent corroboration that poor conditions impacted driving will support your claims about the weather’s role. Any statements given to insurers or lawyers will become part of the official record documenting the wintry conditions during the incident.
For more complex accidents where fault is disputed, having an expert evaluate your claim that weather caused the crash can significantly help your case. A meteorologist can analyze weather data and provide their professional opinion on how specific conditions led to unsafe driving. An accident reconstruction specialist can evaluate evidence from the scene and determine how snow, ice or slush contributed to the original incident. Their unbiased expertise can reinforce your assertion that adverse winter conditions caused the accident.
Insurance Claim Evidence
When you file your insurance claim after the accident, include all evidence you collected: photos/videos, weather reports, police report, eyewitness statements, expert testimony, and other driver statements. Insurance adjusters understand that winter weather often plays a role in auto accidents, so providing proof of specific conditions like unplowed snow or untreated black ice will help show your claim is valid. Send evidence to other drivers’ insurance companies as well.
If you need to pursue compensation for your accident through a lawsuit, all your documentation will be critical for convincing a jury that snow and ice caused the crash. The more precise details you can provide, the stronger your case will be against any claims that driver error may have contributed. The legal concept of “act of God” may also come into play if conditions were severe. With solid evidence of the hazardous winter weather conditions that led to the accident, you have a greater chance of recovering damages to cover your injuries, vehicle repairs, lost wages, and other losses.
In a state where wintry weather impacts driving for a good part of the year, being able to prove snow or ice contributed to your auto accident is key to determining fault and obtaining fair compensation. Following these tips can help you collect and retain the necessary evidence to show adverse road conditions caused your crash. Being prepared with thorough documentation makes it more likely you will have a successful insurance claim or lawsuit. With the right proof, you can rest assured that unsafe winter conditions, not your own driving, were to blame.
If you have been involved in an accident during wintry weather in Colorado, contact us today. We have offices in 32 locations across 19 states, including Denver.
Call now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597 to find out how we can help.