Driver Responsibility and Winter Weather: Seeking Damages After an Ice Related Accident

Car Accident Law

There is a common misperception that accidents caused because of ice-covered roadways have no blameworthy party. While unpredictable weather patterns may affect the road conditions, an accident still has a cause and an instigator. While terms like “blameworthy” and “instigator” conjure up feelings of intent, that is likely not the case in a winter weather accident. However, every driver who operates their vehicle in such conditions is actively accepting the responsibility and possibility of an accident occurring. Therefore, when discussing the possibility of seeking damages in an ice-related crash, you are still within your rights to do so.

No Excuses

A common argument often made by those involved in ice-related accidents is that they didn’t see the patch of ice and that it was unexpected or came out of nowhere. At that moment, their panic and confusion are likely genuine, but the reality differs from their initial statement. While the invisible nature of ice is real, especially as it relates to black ice, the premise that the ice was unexpected or came out of nowhere is doubtful. With advances in meteorological science and technology, people are more informed than ever before about the potential risks of driving during the winter. Also, there is an element of common sense that makes the association and connection between winter, snow, cold and ice. Therefore, every driver operating a vehicle after a snowstorm or frigid temperatures during the winter knows and accepts the risk of ice, meaning a claim of surprise that ice developed in the road will probably not mitigate liability.

Insurance and Responsibility

Depending on who was at fault, either your insurance or another party’s should cover some or all damages. If the incident involved no other parties and only you sustained injuries, then you may recoup losses through the personal injury protection offered under your policy. However, if another driver caused the accident by sliding or skidding into your vehicle, then depending on the laws of your state, you might seek restitution through mediation or litigation. Icy conditions do not mitigate responsibility, meaning that the treatment of an ice-related accident is typically no different from a crash in normal conditions.

Ice-covered roadways are dangerous, and they often occur during snowstorms and frigid temperatures. While accidents in icy conditions are unfortunate, those conditions do not mitigate responsibility. Therefore, if you were in an ice-related crash and wish to understand your options for recovering your losses, then contact a personal injury attorney specializing in car accidents to discuss your options further.

Source: Car Accident Law Firm Woodland Hills, CA, Barry P. Goldberg

Close Menu