Responsible For A Winter Accident? Understand The Types Of Evidence Used In A Case

Posted on: 26 December 2014

Canada's winter conditions result in more accidents both on and off the roads. If you are the responsible party in a winter accident, you could be facing some hefty fines. However, understanding both the evidence used against you and the evidence in your favor could help you reduce some of the charges.

Evidence Against You

The first part of the case is to determine the cause of accident. Were you driving and didn't stop at a crosswalk? Did a slip and fall accident occur on your property? Whatever type of accident you were involved in, your actions are the first thing to be evaluated. Personal injury lawyers will be looking for any of these pieces of evidence to use against you. You will face higher fines if you:

  • Don't Have Winter Tires: Because winters are so harsh in Canada, your vehicle must be properly equipped to handle ice and snow. If you don't have winter tires on your vehicle and you are involved in a car accident, not only will you have to answer the charges brought against you, but your insurance rates will likely increase, as well.
  • Were Using a Cell Phone: Using a cell phone while operating a vehicle in Canada will automatically put you at fault in an accident. In most provinces, using a cell phone at all is illegal. In areas where cell phone use is permitted, it must be hands-free. If the victim can prove that you were using a cell phone at the time of the accident, there is little you can do to get the charges repealed.
  • Neglected to Clear Property: If a slip and fall accident occurred on your property, the condition of your property will be assessed. Did you neglect to clear ice from your entryway? Did you leave garbage or other debris on the premise? Any hazardous condition on your property will result in your accountability for the victim's injuries.

Evidence in Your Favor

While a lot of evidence can be used against you in an accident injury case, there are some ways you can lessen or clear charges against you. To defend yourself, you will have to prove that you were being both cautious and responsible and the accident was out of your control. Evidence in your favor includes that:

  • Your Vehicle was Equipped for Winter: If your vehicle was properly equipped for winter, the victim's personal injury lawyer will have a harder time proving your negligence in winter driving. Good preparations include both winter tires and daily defrosting before you leave your driveway. Clear loose snow from the top of your vehicle, and wash dirt from your mirrors and headlights, as well.
  • Poor Weather Conditions: The fault of the driver is typically waived when accidents occur during poor weather conditions. As long as your vehicle is equipped for winter and you were not distracted with a phone or radio, you can appeal for the court to consider the weather conditions at the time of accident.
  • Victim was Distracted: In a slip and fall accident, you must prove that your property didn't have hazardous conditions. The best way to do this is through images of your property following the fall. Then you must prove that the victim was distracted, causing the slip and fall. Distractions include cell phone use, facing a different direction than walking, listening to headphones, and other such activities.

Being the responsible party in an accident can seem overwhelming and hopeless. However, if you can prove that you were properly prepared and the accident was just that – an accident – then the charges brought against you should be minor. The best way to prepare for a court case is to understand the evidence that will be used against you and counter it with evidence in your favor.