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Do Winter Tires Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?

The conventional wisdom that most people appreciate is that winter tires can make driving in the Canada’s frigid winters a much safer experience. It seems many drivers you talk to can recall near misses of close calls with motor vehicle accidents. Despite their intuitive nature, winter tires can be a big expense when you need to replace them and can cost you hundreds of dollars. This understandably can make some drivers a little hesitant in upgrading to winter tires from all season or to replace their winter tires with newer ones. But this raises the question, if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident will a failure to obtain winter tires affect any entitlement you may have as far as compensation goes?

Why Are Winter Tires Important?

It is not uncommon by the months of December and January for automobile accidents to see a spike of up to 5% as drivers attempt to navigate the difficult terrain presented by frigid weather conditions. This paints a grim picture of the risks the average driver takes whenever they get into their vehicle to cruise the highways in the cold winter months. But to this point, all the positives of winter tires we’ve discussed have been anecdotal. Countless drivers have had experiences where we have come very close to severe accidents and were saved only due to an ability to gain traction afforded by winter tires.

But from a more practical standpoint, it is notable that while there is, unfortunately, a surprising lack of research into the effects of winter tires, what is available suggests that there is a noticeable effect of winter tires on the safety of vehicles. As per a 2012 study by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, Winter Tires outperform other types of tires, including all-season, when it comes to winter driving conditions. Research by the government of Quebec showed that in the two years since winter tires became mandatory in that province, there was a 5% drop in Motor vehicle accident injuries that could be directly attributed to winter tire use. A tremendous drop in just two years.

How Does My Use or Failure to Use Winter Tires Affect My Claim?

Having established that evidence supports the use of winter tires in preventing accidents, this brings us to the practical question of how use or lack thereof will affect any personal injury action you may bring for a motor vehicle accident. Unfortunately for those who would like to save some money by opting to use all-season over winter tires, case law suggests that a failure to use winter tires when weather conditions call for them can result in a driver being found liable in the tort of negligence. This means that if your failure to use winter tires is the sole cause of an accident, you will be held responsible for the accident, and you will be liable for personal injury.

Where the failure to use winter tires contributes to the accident, but you are not solely responsible for the accident, you may still be able to bring a personal injury action though there is a reasonable argument to be made, you might see some deduction for “contributory negligence” due to your failure to use proper tires. This means that you may see a reduction in your ultimate compensation at the end of the day.

James H. Brown and Associates is Here To Help!

If you have been injured in a winter driving-related accident and have questions about how your or the other drivers’ failure to use winter tires impacts your personal injury case, call us today for your free consultation! Our lawyers are eager to hear your story and are happy to answer any questions you may have about how winter conditions affect the claim. Contact us today 780-428-0088!

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