How to Determine Liability in Ice-Related Car Accidents

ice-related car accidents

Learn how liability is determined in ice-related car accidents.

As unpredictable winter weather continues to affect our daily lives, driving can become treacherous. When roads are covered in snow, ice, or freezing rain, you are at an increased risk of being in an auto accident. One of the most dangerous effects of winter weather is when isolated ice patches form on the road, which drivers do not see until they are skidding across them. When this happens, and the car is then part of a collision, it can be challenging to determine who is at-fault and liable for damages. Sometimes ice-related car accidents can be due to negligence on the part of water sources, but often the at-fault driver is the one who skids. Read on to learn how this liability is determined and how you can drive safely this winter.

What Caused the Ice Patches

Isolated ice patches—rather than large, prominent icy sections of the road—are one of the most common causes of ice-related car accidents. There are several conditions which can lead to the formation of these patches, including:

  • Water not generally on the road finds its way there from a downspout or sewer.
  • Water on the road is unable to dry correctly.
  • Temperatures are cold enough to cause the water to freeze.

In the instance where an isolated ice patch is formed from water from a downspout or other source leading it onto the road, the source of the water may determine liability. Additionally, if someone was responsible for clearing away or draining water from the road, they may be held liable.

Determining At-Fault Drivers

Unlike other types of car accidents that involve things like drunk driving, distracted driving, or aggressive driving, or simply failing to pay attention to the road, where it is clear who is at-fault, determining fault in an ice-related car accident is a little trickier. From a legal standpoint, each driver on the road owes other motorists the duty to drive safely. Therefore, if your vehicle skids on ice and hits a car, the driver that initiated contact is usually found to be the negligent party.

Drivers are expected to take the weather into account as they drive. If a driver skids across the ice, they may then be deemed to have not been using the recommended following distance, speed reduction, and caution on the road. Because of this, you should take extra care when driving in winter weather, so if you do skid across the ice, you can gain control of your car before impacting another driver.

Let Simons & Goldner, P.A. Represent You

Simons & Goldner, P.A., located in Lutherville, MD, consists of two partners, Stevan G. Simons and Richard H. Goldner practicing primarily in personal injury, medical malpractice, Worker’s Compensation, and criminal law. The partners come with decades of experience assisting clients injured by the negligence of others or injured on the job. We serve clients in the Baltimore, Towson, Essex and Dundalk area and work closely with our clients to ensure that your case moves quickly and efficiently and that you get all the benefits to which you are entitled.

Initial consultations are available by phone or in-person and are free of charge. Contact us now to schedule a consultation, or call us today at 410-296-3110. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn for advice and updates.

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