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If My Car Slips On Snow Downhill And Causes Damage, Do I Pay For It?

If My Car Slips On Snow Downhill And Causes Damage, Do I Pay For It?

Winter driving comes with many dangers. In some extreme conditions, falling snow and icy roads can take your vehicle entirely out of your control. If your car slips on snow downhill and causes damage, it’s important to understand who is at fault, what kind of damage was done, and what the next steps should be.

Determining fault in a vehicle accident can be confusing, especially when the weather is a significant factor in an incident. However, all drivers are assumed to be aware of the weather conditions before getting behind the wheel, and, therefore, take on responsibility for their driving performance in said weather. It’s likely, then, that you will at least be held to some fault for sliding collisions.

Notably, there are situations where other drivers may be seen as responsible for a collision. For instance, if another driver swerves and causes you to run off the road in an attempt to dodge them, the other driver may be held liable.

What if Snow Slides Off of my Car?

If you park outside during the winter, then you are likely familiar with the tedious process of brushing snow off of the top of your car and scraping ice from your windshield. When you’re in a rush, it can feel tempting to leave some snow on your car and get on the road as quickly as possible. 

However, several states have specific laws regarding brushing snow off of vehicles, and the fines for not doing so can get pretty hefty. What’s more, any accidents that are caused by snow that falls off of your vehicle will likely be considered your fault. Irritating as the task may be, clearing off your car before getting behind the wheel is an important job.

Comparative Fault and No-Fault States

In many states, plaintiffs can file for comparative fault, or comparative negligence. This means that, even if you were mostly at fault for a collision, you can still receive compensation for some damages.

A few states in the U.S, such as Utah, Florida, and Minnesota, also have no-fault insurance rules. In these states, if an auto accident results in injuries, you can still receive compensation from your insurance company, even if you were the one at fault.

Determining Damage in a Vehicle Collision

Virtually any accident will result in some amount of damage. The appropriate next steps can be determined based on the type and severity of damage done.

Vehicle Damage

Due to simple laws of physics, if your car runs into something at driving speed, it is highly likely to sustain damage. Many insurance policies cover personal vehicle damage. However, it’s important to consider all vehicle-related fees when assessing damage, such as calling a tow truck or getting your battery jump-started.

Personal Injuries

Any injuries that result from a weather-related incident might be deemed your fault if you are determined to be the party that caused the crash. Not all insurance policies cover such injuries, even minor ones, so it is wise to check how well covered you are.

Property Damage

If you hit a stationary object with your car, you will likely be responsible for paying for the object to be repaired or replaced. Items such as mailboxes and fence posts are commonly involved in winter-weather related incidents.

The outcomes of car crashes in mid-winter can range from annoying to devastating. There are a few tips to follow to help prevent such incidents.

  • Check the weather. Stay informed about when and where snow will fall. When possible, avoid driving during heavy precipitation to lower the chances of sliding on unplowed snow or fresh ice.
  • Slow down. During an active snow storm, the safest driving speed might not be the posted speed limit. Slower speeds decrease the possibility of sliding and allow you a longer period of time to react to danger. Drive at a pace that will allow you plenty of time to break or maneuver as needed
  • Decrease distractions. Although driving down the road while your favorite song is playing can be a blast, it can also be a diversion. In low visibility situations, it is best to minimize the number of things that could take your eyes off the road. Keep possible disturbances out of reach, if possible.
  • Share your route. If you plan on being out in the snow for a while, share your route and your destination with a friend or loved one. That way, if you don’t reach your final stop in the right amount of time, someone will know to check in.

While no one wants to consider the possibility, it is best to be prepared in the event you are involved in a winter weather collision. Although every incident is unique, there are a few steps you should take, no matter the situation.

  • Take in the situation. Start by checking in with yourself. Are you injured? Can you move your entire body? Are you trapped? Take a few deep breaths, then, if you feel physically safe, take a look around you. Can you get out of the car? Attempt to turn your hazards on before opening the door to maximize your visibility to other drivers.
  • Assess the damages. Once you have exited the vehicle, make note of any damages done. Begin by assessing if anyone else was involved. If anyone was injured in the collision, immediately call 911.
  • Call for help. In most cases, a call to the local non-emergency police number should be made. A law enforcement officer can then come to the crash site and take a report that may be used later to determine fault. 
  • Start documenting. If physical property was damaged, take pictures of it. If safe to do so, take additional photos of your car before trying to move it to a shoulder or curb. Collect the information of any other drivers involved in the collision, including their names, driver’s license numbers, and insurance policy numbers.
  • Contact insurance. No matter what kind of damage was done, let your insurance company know what happened. They may be able to help you quickly file a claim and get started on any necessary vehicle repairs as soon as possible.
  • Get a lawyer. For cases involving personal injury or significant damage, consulting a lawyer can assist in getting you the largest possible cash settlement. 

No matter how prepared you are, auto accidents can happen to anyone that gets behind the wheel. If you are involved in a vehicle accident, count on Big Auto Accident Attorneys to get you the highest possible settlement. We help with recovery of lost wages, compensation for medical bills, and more. If you need top-notch legal counsel, reach out to one of our lawyers today.

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Content reviewed by managing attorney, Nic Edgson. Nic has been an Arizona-licensed lawyer for more than a decade and focuses his law practice on helping people seriously injured in car accidents and truck accidents. He has represented thousands of clients and recovered more than $50 Million Dollars fighting for their injuries and medical bills. Throughout his legal career, Nic has helped those injured through some of the most difficult times in their lives.