The fatal crash involved a 1990 Honda CRX and a Chelan County Public Works snowplow. According to the Wenatchee Police Department, the Honda was heading eastbound on Skyline Drive when it lost control, crossed the center line and went into the westbound lane. The snowplow was westbound and crossed into the eastbound lane to try and avoid the collision.
The snowplow’s blade struck the Honda, crushing the passenger compartment. The victim that was killed was riding in the front passenger seat. She was transported from the scene to Center Washington Hospital, where she later died.
The driver of the Honda, a 22-year-old man, was also injured and taken to the hospital. He was released the same day. The plow driver, a 64-year-old man, was uninjured.
Police say that at the time of the crash, there was 1-2 inches of fresh, wet snow on the roadway, which has one lane going each way. Police believe the weather conditions were a factor in the Honda losing traction and crossing into the snowplow’s path.
The collision remains under investigation.
How Do Snowplow Accidents Happen?
In many areas of Washington state, harsh winters that bring heavy snow are a way of life. Municipalities across the state rely on snowplow crews to clear the roads, a responsibility that has its risks. Snowplow drivers are often working during the worst parts of a storm, when roads are most unsafe. Despite this task, these drivers have a legal - and moral - obligation to plow safely and not cause harm.
Determining ownership of the snowplow determines who will be liable for your injuries. If the plow is privately owned and contracted out, the contractor may be liable for the injuries caused by the driver. If the plow is local or state operated, the case becomes more complex.
The accident above is one example of how a snowplow accident occurs. Determining the exact cause of a snowplow collision can be difficult, as these incidents typically occur in poor weather conditions. The following is a list of potential causes of these events:
- Distracted driving: This can include a variety of different things. In any given accident, the driver may be texting while driving, changing the radio, using a GPS device, talking to passengers, eating, or reaching into the back seat for something. In all of these circumstances, a driver isn’t giving their full attention to the road.
- Drowsy driving: Studies have shown that drowsy driving - or driving while fatigued - is a factor in about 30 percent of collisions.
- Driving under the influence: This may cause lane swerving and erratic driving, increasing the chances of a snowplow collision.
- Reckless driving: Going too fast for conditions, running a red light, failure to yield and aggressive driving all put the driver, their passengers and those in other vehicles at risk.
- Unsafe roadways: When the weather is bad, slow down. Decreased visibility and slippery roads make it difficult to brake properly.
Hiring the right snowplow accident attorney is key to winning your case. Your lawyer will conduct their own investigation of the accident and determine the true cause. Collecting evidence from the scene, police reports, medical records and witness statements is all part of proving liability in your case.
Common Snowplow Accident Injuries
In the same way that passenger vehicles are at an extreme disadvantage in semi-truck accidents, snowplows can cause massive damage. These trucks are built to do heavy-duty work and withstand harsh weather and abuse by their drivers. Death and the following serious injuries can happen as a result:
- Brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burns
- Face injuries
- Scrapes, bruises and lacerations
- Psychological injuries (PTSD)
After a snowplow accident, it’s important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries - many of them serious - can take hours, days or even weeks to show their symptoms. Seeing a doctor right after an accident also shows that your injuries were serious enough to require immediate attention, which may help you down the line in your personal injury case.
Contact A Washington State Snowplow Lawyer
If you have been injured in an accident involving a snowplow, attorney Chris Davis and the legal team at Davis Law Group, P.S., is ready to help you recover your losses. We have the resources and experience to fight for you. The top commercial truck accident lawyer in Washington state, Mr. Davis has won millions of dollars for the victims of these serious accidents.
Our years of experience have given us the tools and resources to stand up to municipalities and their legal teams, giving you the best chance of a successful outcome. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury or death as a result of a snowplow accident, contact us today for a free case evaluation. Call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page to get started.