Who is Liable for a Car Accident Involving Ice on the Road?
When people think of extreme weather events in Texas, they often imagine thunderstorms and tornadoes, but in reality, ice storms can be just as damaging. This is especially true for drivers who are in danger of losing control of their vehicles after hitting a patch of ice. Ice-related accidents occur at an alarming rate. In fact, the Federal Highway Administration estimates that icy roads cause around 151,944 car accidents every year, in which 38,770 people are injured. These numbers account for around 11% of all weather-related accidents in the country.
Drivers are required to use reasonable care when operating their vehicles, a duty that is not excused in poor weather, so if you were injured in an accident and the at-fault party is blaming the accident on the weather and not their own actions, it is important to contact a car accident attorney who will aggressively represent your interests in court.
Texas drivers have a duty to comply with traffic laws and generally exercise reasonable care when driving. Those who fail to fulfill these duties as a result of their negligent or reckless actions can be required to compensate anyone who was injured as a result. This same duty still applies even if a driver lost control through no fault of his or her own, but because he or she hit a patch of ice. This is because taking note of the weather and road conditions and then adjusting accordingly is considered to be a part of the duty of reasonable care that all drivers owe to others on the road. For this reason, drivers are expected to understand that when temperatures are at or below freezing and precipitation is present, roads becoming icy is a strong possibility. In these situations, responsible drivers will:
- Refrain from driving unless it is necessary;
- Receive regular updates on road conditions;
- Drive below the speed limit;
- Pay more attention to the road; and
- Avoid hills and bridges, which tend to ice over more quickly than other parts of the road.
Those who fail to take these steps can be held liable for their negligence if it causes an accident.
In some cases, cities, states, government agencies, or even private contractors can be held liable for damages resulting from accidents caused by icy roads. Although governments cannot be expected to keep roads ice-free at all times, they do have a duty to warn drivers of certain risks. For instance, most municipalities post signs near bridges to warn drivers of icy conditions in the winter, as these parts of the road tend to be particularly prone to icing over. When a city or government unit fails to provide this type of notice, injured parties may be able to hold them liable for damages.
Call Today for Help with Your Case
If you were injured in an accident caused by icy roads, you may be eligible for compensation. Please contact Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. at 737-201-0543 today to learn more about your legal rights and obligations.