Determining fault in a car accident can be difficult. There can be a lot of factors that contribute to an accident, including other vehicles, traffic conditions, and especially weather conditions. So whose fault is it if a car slips on ice and causes an accident?
SOMEONE WILL ALWAYS BE AT FAULT
Unfortunately, for the purposes of insurance, the ice cannot be considered at fault, so it must fall on a driver. Insurance companies will maintain that it is the driver’s responsibility to keep their car under control at all times. Ice on the road is a weather circumstance out of your control, but drivers must still take extra precautions to drive safely in such conditions.
If your car is the one that slid on the ice then collided with another vehicle, then you are at fault.
Accidents caused by winter weather can be deadly and dangerous. Slick roads often mean that more than one car will slip and lose control. As a result, ice related accidents often involve multi-car pile ups, which makes determining fault more difficult.
In such a situation, insurance companies may determine that fault was 50-50. This doesn’t clear any driver of fault, but rather shares the fault among all the drivers involved.
FAULT VS NO-FAULT STATES
Depending on where you live, it may not matter who was at fault. Some states have “no-fault” insurance laws, which means that each driver’s own insurance company pays for the driver’s medical expenses, up to a threshold.
Most states have “at-fault” insurance laws, which means that the insurance company for the at-fault driver helps pay for property damage, medical expenses, and other losses of the injured party. In these states, most car accident cases will fall under the tort law principle of negligence.
TICKETS & CITATIONS
The good news is that any legal tickets and/or citations to your license may be dismissed due to the weather. This can be helpful in preventing points from accumulating on your license and increasing your insurance premiums.
TIPS FOR DRIVING ON ICE
- Drive Slow. Remember that a driver must maintain control of their vehicle at all times. If you are speeding and hit an ice patch, it’ll be harder to keep the car under control.
- Increase following distance. Sliding on ice increases the distance the car needs to come to a stop. Maintain a further than normal following distance when driving in icy road conditions.
- Use headlights. Even during the day, it may help you see ice glare the road.
- Use winter tires. If icy conditions are anticipated, make sure your car has winter tires or tire chains to help with traction. At the very least, make sure your regular tires are not bald or worn and that will only increase slippage.