Now that we are heading into the cold months, you might be wondering what the law is concerning car accidents that occur in icy or snowy conditions. What if another car slides into you, causing major damage to your vehicle? What about the cars you always see speeding by in icy conditions, without a care in the world? Are they excused from liability just because of road conditions?
On average, there are about 5,748,000 vehicle crashes each year. About 22% of these crashes are weather-related. Weather-related crashes are defined as those crashes that occur in adverse weather (i.e., rain, sleet, snow, fog, severe crosswinds, or blowing snow/sand/debris) or on slick pavement (i.e., wet pavement, snowy/slushy pavement, or icy pavement). On average, nearly 6,000 people are killed and over 445,000 people are hurt in weather-related crashes each year. The great majority of weather-related crashes happen on wet pavement and during rainfall: 73% on wet pavement and 46% during rainfall. A much smaller percentage of weather-related crashes occur during winter conditions: 17% during snow or sleet, 13% occur on icy pavement and 14% of weather-related crashes take place on snowy or slushy pavement.
Statutes in most states, including in Tennessee, require drivers to exercise due care “under the existing circumstances” to avoid crashing into any other vehicle.
If you are involved in a crash during bad road conditions, don’t just assume that the other driver is not at fault. Icy, snowy, slick, or wet road conditions don’t provide a legal excuse for the other driver. Drivers are always responsible for their actions while driving, regardless of the weather or road conditions. If someone chooses to drive when road conditions are bad, then he or she is responsible for driving safely and avoiding wrecks.
The determination of who is legally responsible for a car crash in bad weather or road conditions will depend on a number of factors and there may not be a clear answer. This is why you need an experienced lawyer on your side. For this reason, you should consult with an experienced auto accident lawyer Memphis TN trusts if you are injured in a car wreck involving snow or ice—even if you think you might be partially at fault.
Thanks to our friends and contributors at Patterson Bray PLLC who have significant experience helping personal injury and car accident victims.