Injured by a Snowplow? Here Are Your Options
Wyoming is big on snow. Or rather, snow is big on Wyoming. What with being bordered by the Rocky Mountains to the south and west and hosting a few national parks, we in Wyoming get a lot of weather come winter. And sometimes, even in populated areas, it’s just too much to handle.
This can be a problem when an irresponsible person gets behind the wheel of a snowplow.
How Dangerous Are Snowplows?
Typically, snowplows are alone on the road and only operate in the early morning. This can make their drivers careless — they assume the roads are empty and may make dangerous decisions, such as:
- Drinking while driving
- Distracted driving, like using a cellphone
- Making dangerous lane changes
- Running red lights or ignoring traffic signs
Everyone knows how large and powerful snowplows are. These giant vehicles have to drive in the worst conditions and clean the important roads around Campbell County at record pace. They may seem slow, but they can travel at high enough speeds, which is dangerous given how heavy they are.
Even at slow speeds, a collision between a snowplow and your average car or pickup can be catastrophic. The front ends of these vehicles contain heavy plows and blades, which can easily tear into another vehicle and harm drivers and passengers. In addition, these vehicles can also cause serious injuries to pedestrians who may be out in the early morning clearing their driveways or cars.
Snowplows are naturally raised higher of the ground, like other large vehicles and trucks, which limits the driver’s visibility. They may have a difficult time seeing pedestrians near the front sides of the plow or anyone in the vehicle’s blind spots, which can be dangerous if they suddenly decide to change lanes – or stray out of the lane because they’re watching a funny video on YouTube.
When these accidents occur, victims may be left horribly injured and forced to stay in the hospital for months. A single accident could easily cost more than a year’s worth of rent. However, depending on who injured you and how the accident occurred, you may be able to cover the costs of your treatment and time off work with a personal injury claim.
Who Is Liable for Snowplow Crashes?
Snowplows are generally operated by the Wyoming state government or a local agency. For us here in Gillette, the city’s Street Division handles the plowing and sanding of our paved and gravel roads, and the Campbell County Road and Bridge handles areas outside the city. Also, several private snowplow companies around the county are on-call to clear private roads, parking lots, and other residential areas.
After being injured by a snowplow, you may be able to file an accident claim to recover compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and pain. Typically, in Campbell County, you can file two types of claims:
Auto Accident Claims: If a private company’s snowplow hit you, then you may be able to file an auto accident claim against the driver’s insurance company. In Wyoming, you have four years to file a claim against a private company and there is no cap on the amount of money you can receive for your trauma.
Government Accident Claims: If your injuries were caused by a government-run snowplow for the Gillette Street Division or Campbell County Road and Bridge, then you may be able to file a government vehicle accident claim. You have up to two years to file a government claim, but can only receive up to $250,000 for a single person or $500,000 for a group of accident victims.
Both situations require strong legal advocacy to receive full compensation, and your best option is to talk to a Gillette personal injury lawyer. At Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., our team of legal experts can review your case in a free consultation and explain your rights under the law. Whether a government worker or private driver caused your injuries, we can demand proper compensation for your trauma. To discuss your case today, call our office at (307) 257-7800.
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