Who Is at Fault When Weather Causes a Car Accident?

As winter approaches and roads in Toledo are covered in snow, it is important to understand who is at fault when weather causes a car accident. Inclement weather can play a role in causing motor vehicle collisions at all times of the year, including in the winter when snow and ice impact travel and in the summer when rain can limit visibility. Many people assume that a traffic collision that occurs in inclement weather means that nobody is at fault and that there are no options for filing a car accident lawsuit. In fact. While inclement weather is a contributing factor in many accidents, especially in colder months in Ohio, it is critical to know that many crashes that happen when the weather is bad are still the fault of another party. 

Determining fault will be critical if you want to be able to file a lawsuit in order to obtain financial compensation following a weather-related crash. Our Toledo car accident lawyers can provide you with important information so that you can get started on your case.

Negligent Vehicle Maintenance

It is prudent to have your vehicle maintained for winter driving. If a mechanic negligently maintains a vehicle that causes a collision due to weather, the mechanic may be liable.

Negligent Motorists Routinely Case Crashes in Inclement Weather

Many motor vehicle collisions that occur in Ohio in bad weather happen because of another driver’s negligence. Just because the weather is bad does not give a negligent driver an excuse to behave carelessly or recklessly behind the wheel. Just as in collisions with clear weather where an intoxicated, distracted, drowsy, or aggressive driver causes a crash, those same behaviors can result in a motorist being liable for an accident that happens in bad weather.

In addition, it is critical to know that drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists on the road, and this duty of care requires that all motorists behave as a reasonable person would in the same circumstances. When the weather is bad, a reasonable driver would slow down to a speed significantly below the speed limit. In addition, a reasonable driver would leave a greater following distance behind the car in front to avoid a crash in the event of the need to brake on icy roads. As such, even if a motorist is obeying the posted speed limit or otherwise appearing to abide by traffic laws during bad weather, that driver may still be liable for a crash if their speed or other driving practices play a role in causing the collision.

Property Owners Can Be Liable for Weather-Related Collisions

Sometimes weather-related accidents also result from unreasonable hazards on the road or in the parking lot where the crash occurs. For example, imagine significant road damage has gone unrepaired for an extended period of time, and that damage is no longer visible due to snow or ice. If that road damage causes a crash while it is snowing or sleeting, the state or municipality could be responsible for the accident.

Contact an Ohio Car Accident Lawyer

If you need assistance seeking compensation after a weather-related crash, an experienced Toledo car accident attorney at our firm can help. Contact Groth & Associates for more information.