Many drivers are curious who is at fault for an accident caused (in part) by snow and ice. Since we are now in the midst of winter, this question is increasingly relevant. The short answer is that the element of snow and ice does not factor into the liability equation too much. For instance, if you are rear-ended because the driver behind you lost control of his car on black ice, he is still at fault for the accident and you are entitled to compensation for your personal injury, including medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Responsibility for Accidents in Snowy Weather
Some argue that it is unfair to be found at fault when you are unable to control your car due to the ice. This is not an unreasonable argument if you suffer a car crash caused by ice. As drivers, however, we are all aware of the dangers of driving in winter weather conditions and, therefore, the law holds us responsible when an accident occurs. Every time we decide to drive in a few inches of snow we are assuming the risk of driving in such conditions and are responsible for what may happen.
Since black ice can not be brought into court, the driver who loses control of his car and slides into another vehicle’s rear-end, or slides through a red light or stop sign in icy road conditions, will be liable for the accident.
Protecting Your Accident Claim
While that may explain the easy cases, we all know that snow and ice has a way of resulting in bizarre accidents. Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of being involved in a multi-car pile-up caused by cars sliding on ice in every possible direction. Here is some advice when such an accident occurs: If, and only if, you are physically able, try to identify any potential witnesses and gather their contact information. Take pictures of the scene to identify the final resting place for all of the involved vehicles. And as always, be sure to call the police so that a report of the accident can be made. While a personal injury attorney is always your best option when in a car accident, an experienced attorney is essential for snow and ice related accidents.