Who Is Liable For A Car Accident On Black Ice?

The winter months are far more dangerous for drivers because car accidents can happen without warning.

Oftentimes, drivers cannot even see an icy patch before they run over it and lose control of their car. The clear ice that you cannot see is called black ice, and it is extremely treacherous.

When drivers hit it, they can skid and hit other cars. If you have been injured in an accident due to black ice, we can help you as you seek financial compensation.

Our law firm will provide legal counsel as you seek to recover compensation for your injuries. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.

How a Black Ice Patch Forms

Black ice is a thin layer on top of concrete or asphalt. It will form just above the freezing point on the surface.

Some snow will melt when the temperature is just above freezing.

Black ice forms when the temperature drops overnight, and there is a refreeze of some of the ice or when snow melts and freezes again.

black-ice-car-accident-chicago-illinois

Many car accidents occur in snowy and icy conditions where the liability of drivers is an issue.

Why Black Ice Is Dangerous

Black ice gets its name from the fact that it takes its color from the surface beneath it.

Drivers cannot see black ice on the road beneath it, since it is such a thin layer. Drivers only realize that they have driven over black ice once they have lost control of their car.

At that point, they may already be on their way to causing a car crash.

What Happens When a Car Crosses Over Black Ice?

The car may lose traction as soon as it passes over a slippery spot on the road. The car’s tires will lose contact with the road and the front or back of the car may spin out.

In some cases, the car may go into a full skid, and the driver will leave their lane.

Where Black Ice Accidents Occur

Black ice accidents could happen on any paved surface. They sometimes happen on the highway, but they are more likely to occur on city streets and side streets where there is some shade.

When you see a sign on a bridge that warns you that these areas freeze before everything else, it is referring to black ice.

Nonetheless, black ice can happen on any road in the winter when snow has melted and refroze.

Causes of a Black Ice Accident

In reality, black ice accidents often happen because one driver has been careless. They are not using the reasonable care that they need to in inclement weather conditions.

When drivers are aware that they may be ice, it is common knowledge that they should be extra careful.

A reasonable person would take the following steps to keep themselves and other drivers safe:

  • Maintain a proper following distance between themselves and other vehicles
  • Travel as slow as necessary to travel safely over potentially icy roads
  • Check tire condition often during the winter, making sure to replace bald or worn tires
  • Not use cruise control when driving in the winter season if there is the possibility of ice.

There are things drivers do that make black ice crashes more likely, and they are signs of negligence on the part of the driver.

Other Causes of Black Ice Car Accidents

Drivers do other dangerous things behind the steering wheel that become far riskier when the temperature drops.

These include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving at an unsafe speed

Drivers can otherwise make mistakes that cause them to unknowingly run over a patch of black ice. They may be in a hurry or not know how to drive in bad weather conditions.

It does not matter. They will be held liable for the accident regardless if they do not drive safely.

Some may think it unfair that a driver who loses control of their car because of the ice should have to pay for accident damages, but this is the rule because drivers should have anticipated the black ice and exercised caution.

How a Driver Should React Once They Hit Black Ice

There are things that drivers can do to avoid black ice accidents when the car begins to lose traction. The best thing that a driver can do is as little as possible.

If they try to jam on the breaks, they will lose control of the car quickly. The driver should try to keep the steering wheel straight to the greatest extent possible.

If the driver feels their car skidding, they should gently steer in the same direction as the skid.

Drivers should not try to brake to a complete stop but should try to decelerate slowly. Any sudden or jerky moves will make the situation worse.

Negligence in Weather-Related Accidents

In any car accident case, it is the negligent driver who is responsible to pay for the other driver’s damages. Negligence is a legal term that has a definite meaning.

As applied by the courts, it describes someone who acted unreasonably under the circumstances.

When a driver loses control on black ice, they cannot always blame the conditions for the accident. They may have failed to take the precautions necessary to prevent the accident from happening in the first place.

For example, failing to slow down on surfaces known to be slippery, such as bridges or areas in the shade, maybe negligence.

Injuries in a Black Ice Accident

A crash caused by black ice can be even more dangerous because one driver completely loses control of their car.

Drivers can suffer serious injury or even death in a car crash due to black ice. The injuries can be even worse when there are multiple vehicles involved in the crash.

Here are some common serious injuries in a car crash caused by black ice:

  • Fractures
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Sprains

Determining the At-Fault Driver in an Accident Caused By Icy Conditions

After the car accident, injured drivers will take steps to pursue compensation. First, they would contact their own insurance company to report the accident.

Insurance adjusters from each driver’s own liability insurance company will speak to each of the drivers to get their version of events of what happened (Do not ever speak to the other driver’s insurance company, especially without your lawyer)

Drivers cannot avoid legal responsibility for a black ice car accident by arguing that they did not know that the ice was there.

Those who drive in Chicago know the weather conditions, and they should understand how black ice forms.

When they drive in winter weather conditions, they must be especially careful when they that there could be black ice on the roadway.

Drivers cannot claim that they were surprised by the fact that there was black ice. The law holds that this is something that they need to anticipate based on the weather.

The ultimate answer of who is liable can be complicated. Based on how the crash occurs, it could be a multi-vehicle accident with one or more drivers involved.

Damages in a Car Accident Caused by Black Ice

If the other driver is found to be at fault for their action, they (or their liability insurance) would need to pay the following damages:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Property damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Wrongful death damages if someone was killed

Free Case Review for Injured Motorists

If you have been injured in a black ice collision, call the attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers at (888) 424-5757 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.

We will work hard to recover compensation on your behalf for car accidents caused by another driver. We will explain all of your legal options for recovering compensation for your injuries.

Call us today to begin our attorney-client relationship, which could lead to financial compensation.