Ice & Snow – Remove It Before You Go | Toms River Attorney

Break out that snow shovel or snow blower and the snow brush and scraper! That beautiful coat of white snow atop your driveway, sidewalk and car could cost you greatly if you don’t remove it.

Property

As a property owner, you have legal obligations to keep your property clean, safe and free of ice. Not only could you face fines, but you could also face a lawsuit if someone is hurt. For instance, Toms River will penalize you $100 for your first offense and $200 for each subsequent offense up to $1,000.00 (each day is a separate offense). Brick is cracking down as well, and the ordinance dealing with penalties is a default provision which indicates a fine not to exceed $2,000 or no more than 90 days community service. There are also time limits within which you must have the snow removed. Check your local municipality for exact time frames.

What’s worse is that if you do not shovel the snow, and someone is injured because of that, you may be liable for their injuries. Property owners must use reasonable care in keeping their property safe, and if someone gets hurt because of an unsafe condition, that owner may be brought into a lawsuit.

Although you may be an expert shoveler, sometimes you may miss a spot. So you should ensure you have liability insurance coverage to pay the cost of your legal defense and any court awards (up to the limit of your policy) should someone be injured on your property and sue you. Check with your insurance agent for the best coverage.

Vehicles

Not only is there a requirement to keep your property safe, but in New Jersey, you break the law when you do not remove the ice and snow from your vehicle.

Ice & Snow – Remove It Before You Go

I’m sure you’ve seen the famous and oh-so-clever jingle on your way to work, but it is a serious law in New Jersey. You have to remove all the ice and snow from your vehicle before driving it on the road — from the hood, windows and roof. If you don’t, you face fines from $25 to $75 for each offense whether or not the ice or snow is dislodged from your car. The fines are increased if ice or snow flies off your car or truck and causes property damage or injury to others: $200 to $1,000 for each offense. And don’t forget the ever-impending civil lawsuit for injuries that could always come your way if your negligence causes another driver’s injuries in an accident.

According to www.nj.gov, there are approximately 500 fatalities in the United States per year due to winter road conditions. In an effort to combat that statistic, the State of New Jersey gives the following Winter Driving Tips:

  • Drive slow (at or below the posted speed limit) and adjust your speed accordingly for the changing road conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights, using low beams when traveling in snow.
  • Increase your following distance. In winter weather, travel at least 8 to 10 seconds behind the car in front of you.
  • Give snowplows plenty of room to work. Don’t tailgate and try not to pass. If you must pass, take extreme caution in doing so. Remember, a snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see him, but they don’t always see you.
  • If you skid, don’t brake or accelerate. Remove your foot from the gas, and gently steer your car in the direction of the skid (the direction the rear of your vehicle is sliding). When your car starts heading in the desired direction, carefully straighten the wheel.
  • Slow down before exiting the highway. Exit ramps often have icy patches, sharp curves and stalled and/or stopped vehicles.
  • Have a personal safety kit easily accessible in your vehicle that includes the following: an ice scraper/brush; shovel; jumper cables or battery starter; blanket; sand, salt or kitty litter for traction; lock de-icer; flashlight and new batteries; extra windshield wiper fluid; safety flares/warning device; cell phone with spare battery; water and non-perishable food (i.e., granola or protein bars); and paper towels or a cloth.
  • If your vehicle does become disabled, pull off the road as far as possible and turn on your emergency flashers. Remain with your vehicle until help arrives. If you can’t get your vehicles off the road and are uncertain about your safety, do not stay in your vehicle or stand behind it. Proceed carefully to a safe location away from traffic.

How the Law Offices of Apicelli, Costanzo & Russom can help you:

If you were seriously injured because of someone else’s negligence, call us today! Because there are time limitations on how long you have to file a lawsuit, it is very important that you do not sit on your rights. If the accident lawyers here at the Law Offices of Apicelli, Costanzo & Russom take your personal injury case, we will begin work right way to make sure that we preserve as much evidence as possible to help you recover a settlement for your damages.

Our NJ car accident attorneys are experienced in dealing with insurance companies and can help you obtain an award that adequately compensates you for your injuries and suffering. As a client-focused law firm, we will not hesitate to pursue your rights in court if the responsible party refuses to make you a reasonable offer in satisfaction of your injuries.

No fees unless we recover money for you. If you retain the NJ injury lawyers here at the Law Offices of Apicelli, Costanzo & Russom to represent you on a personal injury matter, we will not charge you a fee for our services if we do not recover money for you.

Contact us today to tell us about your case and see how an experienced NJ personal injury attorney can help you.

Sender of Text to Driver Liable for Injury

It is well known that New Jersey has banned the general use of cell phones while driving (N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3). This includes texting, talking and even web surfing on your mobile phone. While the law allows the use of a cell phone under limited circumstances, the law is clear that cell phone use is no longer tolerated in this state.

A recent case has put further limits on the use of cell phones even if the person isn’t driving at all. In Kubert v. Best, it was held that the sender of a text message can be liable for injuries if a driving accident was caused because the driver of the automobile was distracted by the texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that the driver-recipient would read the text while driving and thus be distracted.

In this case, David Kubert and his wife, Linda, both lost their left legs as a result of being hit by a pick-up truck driven by Kyle Best (18 years old), who crossed the double center line of the road and traveled into the Kuberts’ lane. Best called 9-1-1 15 seconds after 5:49 p.m., which was 17 seconds after Best sent a text to Shannon Colonna, a girl he had been texting all day. It was inferred that this text to her was in response to a text he received from Colonna 25 seconds earlier.

After settling their claims against Best, the Kuberts brought suit against Colonna, arguing that she is liable to them if her text to Best was a proximate cause of the accident. Colonna was not held liable, as the evidence was insufficient against her.

It is not enough to establish that the text sender sent the message to a specific person, even if the sender knew the recipient was then driving. It was concluded that proof of liability is sufficient where the text sender knew the text recipient was then driving, that the text sender knew or had special reason to know that the driver would read the text message while driving, and would thus be distracted from attending to the road and the operation of the vehicle. A text sender can safely assume that the driver-recipient will view and read the text message when it is safe to do so. However, if the text sender knows that the driver-recipient will view and read the text message immediately upon receipt, then the text sender has distracted the driver and can be fairly held liable for the results.

The way to avoid a result like this is easy: DO NOT SEND TEXT MESSAGES TO PEOPLE YOU KNOW ARE CURRENTLY DRIVING. Otherwise, a text sent to a driver can make you just as liable for causing an accident as the one behind the wheel.