Winter Car Crashes: Who's at Fault?

Winter Car Crashes: Who’s at Fault?

winter car crashes

Everyone knows the changing of weather from warm to snowy is dangerous for drivers on the road. What you might not realize in winter car crashes is who’s at fault. Does the presence of winter weather absolve drivers of any responsibility for car accidents in the snow? Let’s take a look.

Who’s at Fault?

car crashes every year

On average, there are more than 5.8 million car crashes each year. Approximately 21% of these crashes are weather-related. But does that mean no one is at fault because the accident was caused by the weather? 

The short answer is no. Winter weather doesn’t take away anyone’s responsibility for car crashes. 

Maryland Transportation Article 21-310, “Following Too Closely,” states: 

“The driver of a motor vehicle may not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the other vehicle and of the traffic on and the condition of the highway.”

Based on this law, drivers should adjust their speed and distance between the cars in front of them according to “the condition of the highway.”

Additionally, the Maryland Speed Rule 21-801 states:

“A person may not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed that, with regard to the actual and potential dangers existing, is more than that which is reasonable and prudent under the conditions.”

That is to say, if it is snowy or icy, you need to slow down enough that you can control your car or truck in those conditions. 

Why is Snow Dangerous?

car accidents in winter

There are many reasons why driving in the snow can be dangerous. First, if the snow is falling continually, it can reduce visibility. Arguably, this condition is worse than when it’s raining. You might think that the whiteness of the snow would light up the area around you, but that doesn’t happen. Furthermore, snowflakes are thicker than rain, and can cause less visibility in the daytime. Snow is also more slippery than rain. Ice can be even worse than snow. 

Additionally, it can be more difficult to see road markings in the snow as snow can cover signs completely, whereas if it’s raining, the markings remain visible.

What To Do if You’re in a Winter Car Crash

If you are in the unfortunate situation of a winter car crash, there are certain things to be aware of to remain safe. Here is a checklist of what to do after car snow accidents:

  1. Move to a safe place if you can do so. 
  2. Call 911/Police.
  3. Seek medical attention.
  4. Write down important information for all drivers involved, including:
    1. Name
    2. Phone number/email address
    3. Address
    4. Insurance carrier and policy number
    5. License plate number
  5. Gather evidence with pictures and videos of the scene and any injuries.
  6. Call your insurance company.
  7. Call the personal injury attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling at 410-753-4611.

What Can a Personal Injury Attorney Do For You?

If you’ve experienced the unfortunate incident of a car accident in the snow, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with what to do next. After receiving medical treatment and starting your recovery process, you should contact Maryland’s Car Accident Attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling. Their experienced lawyers will help gather evidence to prove who was at fault, work with the insurance companies, and be your representative when requesting compensation. 

The lawyers at Zirkin and Schmerling Law know Maryland law and have dealt with cases like yours for many years. Working with them allows you to focus on your medical recovery while they handle all of the details of your claim. And when it comes time to negotiate compensation for your injuries and emotional damage, they will fight to get you what you deserve following winter accidents. 

Call Zirkin & Schmerling at 410-753-4611 any time, day or night, or contact us for a free consultation.