According to the Federal Highway Administration, icy roads contribute to approximately 13% of weather-related vehicle crashes. Black ice is one of the most dangerous road conditions; the thin, transparent ice layer blends in with the road, making it challenging to see and avoid.
In most cases, black ice does not change who is liable for a car accident. All drivers have a duty to drive safely and not endanger others on the road, which may mean exercising extra caution depending on the weather and when a driver knows or should know ice may be present, such as after snow or rain. If you were involved in a car accident due to someone sliding on black ice, insurance companies often assess both drivers’ behavior to determine who is liable.
Driver behavior is one of the primary deciding factors of fault in a black ice collision. Read on to learn more about how liability is determined in crashes caused by black ice and how the car accident attorneys at Fieger Law can help you recover compensation for your damages.
You Can Still Be Liable for Crashes on Black Ice
Drivers are responsible for driving safely and not putting others on the road at risk, regardless of weather conditions. When a crash occurs due to bad weather conditions, liability is often assessed based on whether the drivers acted in a manner appropriate for the conditions.
Some reasons you could be deemed liable for a black ice collision include:
- Reckless Driving: If a maneuver is considered risky or unsafe in clear weather, it’s even more dangerous in icy conditions. Frequent lane-changing, failing to signal, following too closely, and braking sharply among other dangerous maneuvers can cause your vehicle to skid or force other drivers to swerve in an attempt to avoid hitting you. If someone else slides on black ice due to your reckless driving, you may be held liable for the subsequent crash.
- Inappropriate Speed: You must drive below the speed limit in inclement weather, which includes snowy and icy conditions. If you drive at the speed limit or higher, you risk skidding on black ice and being unable to stop quickly enough when you brake. Should you hit another driver as a result, you would be considered liable for not taking appropriate caution on the road.
- Neglecting Maintenance: Anyone who owns or leases a vehicle is expected to perform routine and seasonal maintenance on it. If you get into an accident because of a preventable mechanical failure, you will be held liable for the accident due to your failure to maintain your vehicle. For example, you can be deemed liable for a crash because your tires or brake pads were too worn to drive safely in icy conditions.
Being involved in a black ice collision can make matters of fault and liability complicated and more argumentative. If you’re unsure who’s at fault in a black ice collision, schedule a consultation with Fieger Law today to review the facts of your case.
How Insurance Handles Black Ice Crashes in Michigan
Michigan is a no-fault state. While all drivers are required to carry insurance, you will file a claim and be compensated by your own insurance in case of a car accident. Neither driver’s insurance company will refuse coverage solely based on fault.
If you get into a car accident with someone due to black ice, your insurance company should still compensate you for your medical expenses and lost wages up to your coverage limits. However, your insurance will only cover your financial losses; for example, you cannot recover damages for pain and suffering.
Auto insurance policies can be challenging to understand. The attorneys at Fieger Law can review your policy and determine whether you should file a claim with your own insurer or whether you have a valid claim to sue the other driver after an accident.
Can I Sue Someone for a Black Ice Collision in Michigan?
Since Michigan is a no-fault state, you typically cannot file a claim against another driver for a collision, regardless of the cause of the crash. However, there are a few exceptions.
If you become temporarily or permanently disabled or are permanently disfigured in the accident, or you lose a loved one in the crash, you have the right to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company to recover compensation from them as well.
To file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, you must prove that the other driver is liable for your damages. While sliding on black ice does not absolve them of liability, it’s far more helpful to determine why they slid to begin with. For instance, they may be liable for the crash because they traveled at speeds inappropriate for the weather conditions.
When you file a lawsuit against another driver in Michigan, you become eligible to sue for additional damages like pain and suffering. Review your case with a Michigan car accident attorney at Fieger Law. Your attorney can gather evidence of the other driver’s liability and craft an argument to maximize your compensation.
Schedule a Consultation with Fieger Law
Black ice poses a danger to pedestrians and vehicles alike. If you or a loved one were involved in a collision caused by black ice, you may have the right to recover compensation for your damages. The auto accident attorneys at Fieger Law can determine whether you are eligible to claim compensation.
Fieger Law has extensive experience handling car accident claims in Michigan and across the United States, including black ice collision claims. We can analyze the facts of your case, build a powerful argument in your favor, and fight to help you claim the compensation you deserve.
Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation.