In Your Town. On Your Team.

Request Free Consultation

Who Is Liable if Winter Weather Causes an Accident on a Kentucky Highway?

Winter weather may bring beautiful snow, but it also increases the chance of traffic accidents. When snow and other inclement weather create slippery road conditions, drivers must increase caution and practice safe defensive driving to prevent accidents. However, collisions still increase when the weather gets colder.

A rise in winter accidents also creates more police reports, insurance claims, and personal injury suits. In each of these cases, the question arises, “Who should be held liable for the accident?” Are traffic incidents in inclement conditions treated the same as accidents that occur in normal conditions, or do the rules change?

Driver Negligence in Automobile Accidents

In Kentucky, drivers must drive their vehicles in a manner that protects both themselves and those around them. As the vehicle operator, the individual in the driver’s seat needs to ensure they are driving both responsibly and defensively. When drivers fail to adhere to traffic laws and safety measures, they may be found negligent. As a result, drivers who negligently operate their vehicles are often required to compensate victims for the costs of their medical expenses and more.

Additionally, more than one party in the accident can be held liable for negligence in the event of an accident. Kentucky law states that the court can determine if another driver is partially responsible in the case of a multi-vehicle accident, even if they were the one injured. This partial responsibility does not necessarily prevent the injured party from being compensated for their injury. However, it does open the possibility for a jury or insurance adjuster to assign partial blame and deduct that percentage from the total amount of compensation awarded for medical expenses.

Driver Negligence in Wintry Conditions

In the case of an accident during inclement weather, police and insurance adjusters must first determine whether any of the parties involved showed signs of negligent driving. The increased risk of accidents caused by slick roads may be enough for the authorities on site to negate fault from either driver. Neither party may be at fault if the law enforcement officers determine that both drivers were responsibly operating their vehicles and the environmental conditions were the cause of the accident.

Even though this is a possibility, drivers need to remember that just because the accident happened in inclement conditions doesn’t mean those hazards caused the accident. Negligent driving behaviors such as following too closely, excessive speed, and failure to properly follow traffic laws still apply when the weather is poor. If either driver involved in the accident is determined to have driven negligently, they will be found at fault for the event.

Safety Precautions for Winter Driving

Before leaving the house in winter weather, begin by assessing whether the trip is important enough to get on the roads. We all understand that cabin fever can be a real and pressing issue, but it is always safer to remain at home if the road conditions are poor. However, if you do need to drive during wintry conditions, be sure to take the following precautions to remain as safe as possible:

  • Perform proper maintenance on your vehicle to ensure it is safe to operate in any driving condition.
  • Do not leave your parking space until your lights, windows, and side mirrors are free of snow and debris.
  • Slow down when on the road–winter conditions can make it dangerous to even drive at the proper speed limit.
  • Use extreme caution when approaching areas more prone to freezing, such as bridges and on/off ramps.
  • Allow more space between you and other vehicles to compensate for increased stopping distances.

If you take your time and drive more cautiously, driving in winter weather will be safer for you and everyone else involved. Remember that everyone may not be adhering to these precautions, so take extra care when navigating snow-covered roads.

Trust McCoy & Sparks–Premier Personal Injury Attorneys in Central Kentucky

Accidents happen–especially when driving in winter weather. If you have suffered an injury sustained during a car accident on snow-covered or icy roads, you have a right to file a personal injury claim to recover damages suffered during the accident.

At McCoy & Sparks, we have been working for over a decade to assist people in trouble and have represented thousands of clients in Central Kentucky. Regardless of your type of case, we are committed to developing a strategy to provide the best possible outcome to meet your needs.

Contact us at 1-844-4KY-WINS or fill out our online form to set up a free consultation for your case. If you prefer to speak with us in person, visit our offices at 212 W. Stephen Foster Ave. in Bardstown, Kentucky.