Who is at fault for a car accident due to snow, ice or black ice?

Liability / Responsibility for Accidents in Winter Weather

Many people are surprised to discover that they are still at fault if they cause a car accident during a snow storm, are involved in a collision on icy roads or are involved in a black ice accident. You can’t blame the weather for an accident.  Drivers have a duty to drive safely and appropriately no matter what the conditions. 

Some people want argue that it is unfair to be found at fault when you are unable to control your car due to the ice.  But drivers are well aware of the dangers of driving in winter weather conditions and so the law holds them responsible when an accident occurs. Every time someone chooses to drive in the snow or on an icy road they can be held responsible if they cause an accident. 

It is common knowledge that the number of motor vehicle accidents in the Seattle area increases substantially when it snows in Western Washington. Ice on roadways and snow-packed road conditions on Puget Sound highways, secondary roads, city streets and side streets can be extremely hazardous. Some winter weather accidents can be minor, with a small dent in the vehicle. Others, unfortunately, can end in serious injury or even death.

These kinds of accidents bring to mind some very important insurance and liability issues, such as:

Is an icy or snowy road collision considered an ‘Act of God’? Learn more about the "Act of God" defense and how insurance companies use it to get out of paying for accidents.

Was the at fault driver behaving reasonably when they chose to drive on an icy road? Learn more about driving responsibly in winter weather.

What is my car accident case worth? Learn what kinds of damages are recoverable after a car accident.

Injured In A Winter-Weather Accident

In Washington state every driver is charged with acting with due care depending on the conditions of the roadway. So if a driver loses control of their vehicle and causes a collision with your vehicle, such as a rear-end accident, the fact that the roads were icy and covered with snow is not a defense—they may still be responsible for the damage to your vehicle and your injuries.

Unless the ice and snow is considered unexpected or unforeseen, the person who caused the accident can be held responsible. Why? Because a reasonable person would know that if it is snowing and the roads are icy they should take extra care when driving by traveling at a slower speed and at a greater following distance. A reasonable person would know that if their vehicle is not equipped to safely to drive in these conditions. A reasonable person would also know whether they have the kind of driving experience necessary to navigate these conditions safely.

If you have been injured in an accident that took place on an icy road or under snowy conditions you have legal rights and you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and damage to your vehicle. Contact Davis Law Group at 206-727-4000 to get your questions answered and your legal options explained. Our injury accident attorneys can help.

I was recently involved in a very small accident in Massachusetts which a truck was parked illegally in a restaurant lot and I was trying to avoid a vehicle coming into the restaurant and slide on some black ice and GRAZED the parked car. As a good Samaritan I went into the restaurant and found the owner to let him know. I gave them all my information and He said there was not enough damage for a claim. I just received a call from my insurance company saying they put in a claim. Can I counter this by saying he was not parked legally?
by mj cain March 1, 2015 at 03:52 PM
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