Who May Be Held Liable for a Car Crash Caused by Black Ice?
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Dec 16, 2021 in Advice
When the temperature drops enough to cause freezing conditions, black ice may easily form on some roadways, sidewalks or parking areas. Black ice can easily cause accidents that result in serious injuries.
If you were injured in a black ice accident, it may be in your best interest to speak to one of our knowledgeable auto accident lawyers in South Bend to discuss your legal options. The consultation is free and there are no upfront fees while we work on your case.
Victims of black ice crashes may be eligible to seek compensation. However, it can be difficult to determine who is at fault for these types of crashes. That is why it is important to seek experienced legal representation.
Determining Fault for a Black Ice Accident
Determining fault for a black ice accident boils down to who acted negligently. Remember that negligence consists of four elements:
- A duty of care exists
- There was a breach of that duty
- You suffered damages
- Your damages were a direct result of the party’s breach of duty
A legal duty of care is an obligation to take the same precautions any other reasonable person would take in a similar situation to avoid or minimize the risk of injury to others. If a party breaches a duty of care, it may be held liable for damages.
There are also some instances when fault may be shared by multiple parties, including the injury victim. This is when Indiana’s modified comparative negligence law may apply. If you are found less than 51 percent at fault for your damages, you compensation may be reduced by the amount of fault assigned to you. However, if you are more than 51 percent at fault, you would not be able to recover any compensation.
In a car crash case, it is often a driver who is negligent and responsible for most, if not all, the damages suffered. However, black ice crashes are different because another party besides a driver may be responsible for black ice being on the road.
Parties That May Be Liable for Damages
You may be owed a duty of care by a variety of parties, depending on the circumstances of your accident.
Drivers owe a duty of care to anyone who shares the road with them. This includes other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Drivers should be extra cautious in areas where black ice is known to form or when signs warn to watch for ice. Extra precautions could include:
- Slowing down
- Allowing distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you
- Paying attention to surroundings
A driver who fails to take extra precautions when encountering dangerous road conditions like black ice could be held liable for damages if a crash results.
If the owner of a property is aware that there is black ice buildup on a sidewalk or other part of his or her property where people are walking or driving, he or she may be held liable if crashes occur and people get injured.
Usually, property owners have a duty of care to keep public areas on their property safe or at least provide adequate warning of possible hazards.
Holding a government municipality liable for damages due to a black ice accident may be difficult, but it is not impossible.
Sometimes a municipal government is responsible for salting roadways or adding proper signage to make people aware of the dangers of black ice buildup in a certain area. Failure to do so could mean you may be able to pursue compensation from the government entity responsible for maintaining the road.
Tips to Avoid Black Ice Accidents
There is no surefire way to avoid black ice or an accident once your vehicle’s tires begin to lose traction. However, there are some general best practices to lower the risk of a crash, including keeping your eyes on the road and maintaining the proper following distance from other vehicles.
If you do find yourself driving over black ice, experts say that the best thing to do is take your foot off the gas but do not apply the brakes. If you feel your vehicle’s tires losing traction, grip the steering wheel and steer into the skid until your tires regain traction.
Be sure to regularly check your tire treads to be sure they will give you good traction on the road. Liability for a black ice accident may fall to you if your vehicle is the one that hits someone else and your treads were too worn down.
Call Us Today to Set Up a Free Consultation
If you were involved in an accident caused by black ice and do not know the next steps to take, you should strongly consider speaking to one of our knowledgeable attorneys.
We are prepared to review your claim at no cost to you, and we do not charge you anything unless we get paid.
Call (844) 678-1800 to schedule your free consultation.