We Collided on Ice, is the Other Driver Liable?
Car accidents and collisions due to slick roads and icy conditions in Chicago are all-too-common and can be quite devastating. These types of accidents can often be avoided through slow, careful driving and awareness of road conditions and other drivers in the area. When a collision does occur, however, determining liability, especially in treacherous weather, can be quite difficult. You deserve an experienced accident and personal injury lawyer to represent you and make sure your rights are protected.
Responsibility for a car accident, even in adverse weather, comes down to two things: negligence and liability. In most instances, negligence occurs when someone acts or fails to act in a way that is contrary to reasonable behavior. For example, it is generally considered unreasonable for a person to drive 30 MPH over the speed limit, and doing so could easily be seen as negligent behavior. In poor weather conditions, such as a winter snow storm, the potential for negligence may be even higher. While driving just 5 MPH over the speed limit might not normally be seen as grossly unreasonable, doing so during snow that causes a white-out would be considered far more reckless.
Liability refers to whether or not someone’s negligence actually caused or contributed to a collision that caused injuries or damages. In the previous example, if someone drove 30 MPH over the speed limit, that would be negligent behavior, but if the speed did not in any way create the accident, then it is not vitally important in terms of liability (although speeding is a common cause of many automobile collisions). In order for a person to be legally liable in a civil claim, it must be demonstrated that their negligence directly led to or contributed to the collision.
Driving on roads that are slick with slush or ice is inherently dangerous, and some collisions might occur simply due to natural conditions. But, if someone fails to act in a reasonable way due to weather conditions, then they might be negligent. For example, if roads are clearly icy, but someone drives at high speeds while texting on a phone, and collides with another vehicle, then it could be argued they did not reasonably adapt to the hazardous conditions, and that their negligence caused the crash. That could make them liable, even though the icy roads still contributed to the collision.
If you or someone you know have been in an accident, even in treacherous and icy road conditions, talk to the experienced car accident injury lawyers of Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC. Call us today at (800) 996-4824 to discuss the details of your case.