How is liability determined in a winter car crash caused by ice?


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Question:

How is liability determined in a winter car crash caused by ice?

Answer:

In a winter car crash caused by ice, the issue of liability is going to be similar in many ways to liability in any other situation. To determine liability or fault, it must be determined who was behaving negligently. The negligent driver, if he is found to have breached his or her duty to other driver's through his negligence, will be held liable. To determine if this breach of duty occurred or not, the behavior of the driver in questions will be compared to a reasonable driver. For example, if a driver was driving too fast for the icy conditions and this led to the crash, then fault will be determined by looking at whether a reasonable driver would have been going at that speed. If not, then that person can be considered negligent and legally responsible.

Other Considerations

In reality, of course, icy car accidents are rarely so simple, and often the parties will share the fault or responsibility. If that is the case, whether or not one driver will have to pay or not is going to depend on the rules applied. Some states, called pure comparative fault states, allow one driver to sue another even if the person being sued was only 1 percent responsible for causing the injury/accident (the plaintiff in which a case would receive an award of 1 percent of his damages). In other cases, unless the party driving was over 50 percent responsible, he can not be sued.

Is the City Responsible?

One factor that you should note when it comes to a crash caused by ice is that the city or municipality who "owns" the streets and who plows them is generally not going to be a contender for assuming liability or legal responsibility for a whole host of reasons, including governmental protections and immunities.

If you were injured in a car accident, whether because of ice or for any other reason, consider speaking with an attorney who can explain the rules for liability and help you to explore your options for dealing with the situation.

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