Every winter, Quebec streets are witness to intensive snow removal operations. Unfortunately, winter accidents involving snowplows are not uncommon and can have serious consequences.
Here, the experts at our Montreal law firm break down the basics of what to do following an accident involving a snowplow. We’ll look at the legal context of snowplow accidents, how to identify who is responsible, and how to file a claim in case of injury.
Snowplow accidents in Quebec
Accidents involving snowplows are a winter reality in Quebec, where severe weather conditions require frequent and intensive snow removal. These accidents, although less frequent than conventional road accidents, present unique risks and often have serious consequences.
Statistics on accidents involving snowplows
According to data collected by local authorities, the number of accidents involving snow-clearing vehicles increases every year, and has now reached over 800 individual incidents. It is also estimated that snowplows cause an average of 3 deaths per year.
These figures reveal that snowplows pose a high risk, and that we all need to know what to do if there is an accident!
The causes of snowplow accidents vary, but common situations include:
- Collisions with parked vehicles: When maneuvering in narrow streets, snowplows can collide with parked vehicles.
- Pedestrian accidents: Pedestrians can be injured by snowplows, especially in conditions of reduced visibility.
- Damage to private property: Snow removal operations can damage fences, mailboxes and other private property, especially in residential areas.
- Collisions with other vehicles: Snowplows can collide with other moving vehicles, especially at intersections or in low-visibility areas.
What to do following an accident with a snow removal vehicle
An accident with a snowplow can be a confusing and stressful experience. As in the case of a car accident, it’s helpful to know what steps to take to stay safe and uphold your rights.
What to do first
- Secure the scene: If possible, move your vehicle out of the way to avoid further accidents. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other road users.
- Assess injuries: Check whether you or others involved in the accident need urgent medical attention. If you are injured, call for help immediately.
- Do not confront the snowplow operator: Avoid confrontation. Stay calm and wait for the authorities to arrive.
Gather information and evidence at the scene
- Take photos: Document the accident scene with your phone. Take photos of the vehicles involved, the damage, road conditions, and any relevant road signs or markings.
- Write down the details: Write or record a memo describing the accident while the details are still fresh in your mind. Include the time, date and place, and describe how the accident took place.
- Gather witness information: If witnesses are present, ask for their contact details. Their testimony could be crucial to your claim.
Report the accident to the appropriate authorities
- Contact the police: Report the accident to the police. An official police report is necessary for filing insurance claims and complying with legal procedures.
- Inform your insurance company: Contact your insurer as soon as possible. Provide an honest and accurate description of the accident.
- Consult a lawyer: Consider consulting an SAAQ lawyer, especially if the accident resulted in serious injury or significant property damage.
Laws and regulations concerning snow removal operations
Snow removal operations are regulated by strict safety standards to protect workers and the public. These standards include guidelines on snowplow speed, snow removal methods and the use of safety equipment.
Municipalities may have unique individual regulations concerning snow removal, including schedules, parking restrictions, and guidelines for residents about removing snow from their property.
In the event of an accident involving a snowplow, figuring out who is liable may depend on several factors, including possible operator negligence, failure to comply with regulations, or hazardous road conditions. Municipalities could be held responsible if the accident results from shortcomings in the planning or implementation of snow removal procedures.
How to file a claim with the SAAQ
After an accident involving a snowplow, you may be able to obtain victim compensation from the SAAQ. This organization provides coverage for road accidents, including those involving snow removal vehicles. There are several types of compensation available.
- Bodily injuries: If you have suffered physical injuries from the accident, the SAAQ might provide compensation to cover medical expenses and loss of income during the recovery period.
- Psychological benefits: In the event of psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress following the accident, the SAAQ may also provide compensation for related psychological treatment.
- Income replacement: If the accident prevents you from working, you may be entitled to an income replacement benefit. This benefit is calculated on the basis of your pre-accident salary, and is intended to compensate you for the loss of income for the period when you are unable to work.
Contact a lawyer to defend your rights!
Our Montreal law firm helps victims of snowplow accidents assert their rights, particularly if they have not received adequate compensation from the SAAQ. We understand the frustration and helplessness you may feel when faced with a complex and sometimes discouraging system.
Our team specializes in contesting SAAQ decisions, so we have all the right expertise to navigate these murky waters. We are committed to examining your case thoroughly, assessing the compensation you are owed, and fighting for your rights. Our goal is to ensure that justice is done and that you receive full and fair compensation.
If you are facing a tough situation with the SAAQ following a snowplow accident, contact us today!