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Who Is at Fault if an Accident Occurs Due to Black Ice on Roads?

Dec 14, 2020 | Auto Accident

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Indiana winters often have long stretches of adverse weather conditions. Black ice is one of the most dangerous winter hazards for drivers. It is difficult to spot and causes many skilled drivers to lose control of their vehicles.

When it comes to deciding who was at fault for an accident, you can count on the fact that at least one driver will be held responsible. Indiana is an at-fault state, and as such, both traffic law and insurance companies establish accountability lies with one of the drivers, regardless of weather conditions or black ice. 

 

How is Black Ice Different from Ice or Snow?

Deep ice and snow are easy to spot on the roads. However, black ice is a thin layer of ice that is not easily visible on the road. Because of this, Indiana drivers should pay attention to the temperatures and anticipate the possibility of black ice.

 

Expectations of Drivers in Black Ice Conditions

As noted above, drivers involved in an accident due to black ice can still be held responsible. If multiple cars collide, one or more drivers will be faulted for the accident. Typically, the first vehicle to lose control will be held most responsible.

Even in severe weather conditions, drivers should exercise the greatest level of care or stay off the roads altogether. Here are some of the top reasons that a driver may be blamed for a black ice accident resulting in injury to themselves or others.

Speed

In freezing weather, both the police and your insurance provider expect you to reduce your speed considerably. Obeying posted speed limit signs is not enough. If you lose control of your vehicle going the speed limit, you can still be ticketed for going too fast given the immediate hazardous conditions.

Space Between Yourself and Other Drivers

The law and your insurance company will argue that maintaining plenty of space between yourself and the driver in front of you can prevent an accident, even if there is black ice. Make sure that you give yourself as much space as you feel necessary to protect yourself from losing control and hitting the car in front of you.

Ability to Handle a Vehicle During a Skid

Indiana drivers, for the most part, have experience driving in cold weather. All drivers must have the ability to handle their vehicle during a skid. Drivers that turn the wheel in the opposite direction of their skid are going to do the most damage. Instead, turn your wheel into the skid to regain control of your vehicle. If it appears that black ice caused you to go into a skid and hit another driver, you will likely be blamed and vice versa.

Filing an Insurance Claim After an Accident Involving Black Ice

If you or someone you love is injured in an accident caused by black ice, make sure to call the police and your insurance company. Also, seek medical care for your injuries and keep track of all your costs. If another driver is faulted for the accident, that driver’s liability insurance should cover your medical expenses and repairs.

If your injuries are severe enough, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

When You Should Involve a Car Accident Attorney

There are two conditions in which you should speak with a personal injury attorney. First, if you are injured and the other driver is at fault, it is ideal that you discuss your case with an experienced attorney right away. They will be able to help you navigate both the other driver’s insurance company, as well as seek damages if your injuries exceed insurance caps.

Second, if you are not faulted for the accident, but the other driver’s insurance is dragging their feet, you should ask for help from a car accident attorney. A trusted attorney can make sure you will not be taken advantage of by anyone’s insurance provider.

For more information about how an Indiana personal injury attorney can help you with your car accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

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