You will soon read the headlines about my client Old Man Winter. They will libel him, defame him and drag him into every accident happening on icy roads. The reporters will outright blame him for deaths and dismemberments. He won't get blamed for divorces, but he will for bankruptcies galore. He will be praised by bodyshops and workers banging out dings and dents. But frankly no one will have even an iota of evidence to prove he did anything wrong or that being at an accident, he never drives any car or truck. My client your honor is innocent of all charges and we move for a directed verdict!
To put this case in perspective I need ask only one question. Can road conditions, including snow and ice, really cause a car accident?
A few years ago I blogged about Iowa news reports blaming Old Man Winter for causing accidents; which by-the-way on behalf of my client we emphatically deny! Back then I thought we'd won this case, but apparently not because once again my client is being libeled. Today I'm here once again to defend OMW, as we so fondly call him. Just so the record is straight, let us say, we categorically deny the charges and on his behalf I say, "He didn't do it!" Every news reporter seems to be taking cheap shots at my client while needlessly blaming him for every accident that occurs after a snow fall. You wouldn't do that if he were a woman, now would you? The allegations are totally outrageous, a fiction of every editor's imagination. Only lazy police would dare blame my client because all they have is him at the scene of most winter accidents, but they can never - ever place Old Man Winter behind the wheel.
I know, I know, I am going to see multiple articles in the Des Moines Register and on KCCI News Center 8 blaming OMW for causing car and truck accidents. Even the Iowa State Patrol alogn with every other State Patrol will blame the weather. We can shorten up the prosecutions case by simple saying, "Yada Yada Yada", because the entire case is based on speculation and conjecture.
Yada yada yada you will hear about semi's on the interstate, ladies driving on the state highways and men crashing on streets and avenues within the city limits. Teens ending up rolling over and in dozens of fender benders all blamed on my poor client Old Man Winter. It's slanderous, libelous, calumnious, salacioius and downright defamatory; and on behalf of my client Old Man Winter I demand a retraction!
After all ice and snow can't cause an accident and I can prove it!
Out to my mailbox I go around 5:00 a.m. to retrieve the Wall Street Journal. As I'm heading down the driveway to the mailbox I notice there is ice on the driveway's concrete and all over the cars parked here for Thanksgiving. In the back of my mind I think, "Great now I'm going to get to see an accident caused by ice and snow!" So I stop in mid step, turn and watch the cars covered in this shiny, slippery, icy material. And I watch, and watch and watch some more. But nothing happens! And I think, "Damn it, get the show on the road because I am cold!" But low and behold, there is no accident between the cars or with the garage door or even with the mailbox. Nothing crashes and no fenders are bent. Not to be dismayed I still place a business card under the wiper blades. After all you never know, maybe my client was lying...
Why? If weather causes accidents then why isn't one happening in my driveway?
Perhaps we need to add a driver! A driver that drives too fast for the conditions might spice things up. So once again it has been proven that weather alone can't cause a car, truck or semi-truck accident.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client, OMW was nothing more than a bystander. Who better to argue the point than Mr. Jackie Chiles.
And on behalf of my client Old Man Weather I demand a retraction, and I rest my case.
As I retrieve the newspaper and head back toward the house I pause for a moment beside the cars parked in my driveway. Not to be dismayed I place a business card under the wiper blades. After all you never know ... maybe my client was lying.
Practice Tip: Think of what the defense would say about the plaintiff driver's decision to drive in the snow storm shown in the photograph. Now when they try and use weather as a defense or an excuse for bad driving on the part of the defendant they are asking the weather to excuse the driver's poor decision making. Don't allow them to do it. When you want to know the major cause of an accident that occurs in bad weather, focus on the driver, not he weather.