Any kind of precipitation greatly impacts driving. It not only makes the roads more dangerous but it can impact your visibility as a driver and how your car performs. Understanding how to drive safely when the weather isn’t so good means slowing down and being more vigilant, however it’s impossible to eliminate all risk of a car accident.
Of the annual average vehicle crashes documented each year by the US Department of Transportation, 21 percent are weather-related. Of those accidents, most happen during rainfall or when roads are wet.
If you find yourself suffering from a weather-related car accident, it’s important to understand who (or what) is at fault and what your insurance will or will not cover.
Is sliding on ice an at-fault accident?
Even with ice being involved in a car accident, fault can still fall on a driver. It all depends on the specific details of your car wreck.
Weather will make it more difficult to establish fault since it increases the factors that led to the accident to begin with. It’s even common for both drivers in a weather-related accident to share some of the responsibility, especially when roads are slippery for everyone due to ice.
Regardless of fault, even if icy roads lead to a black ice car accident, having auto collision insurance should mean repairs or car replacement is covered.
You may think if you have comprehensive coverage you’re all right, but make sure you fully read your policy. Comprehensive coverage is for damage done to your vehicle in non-crash-related incidents. This type of policy covers weather-related incidents that involve damage from storms, objects falling onto the car during bad weather, hail and similar issues. This optional policy may not cover damages from an actual car accident, regardless of the weather.
Does car insurance cover snow accidents?
As with icy roads, being in a car accident where snow is also a factor doesn’t mean fault can’t be established. This is especially true if damages aren’t a result of the snow itself. Liability coverage should pay for damages and injuries should you be established as the at-fault driver. It also means the other driver’s insurance should cover damages and injuries if they’re declared at fault. You may want to consult a lawyer in this situation though to ensure you get all the compensation you deserve and aren’t given any kind of runaround due to the weather conditions.
Does car insurance cover snow damage?
Snow damage is not the same as a snow-related accident. Snow damage implies that your car was damaged directly because of the snow or sleet. If a large drift of snow fell from your roof onto your car and damaged it, for example, comprehensive car insurance should cover the costs of repair.
What about rain?
A lot more common than snowy conditions here in Atlanta, slick streets from rain can really challenge one’s ability to drive safely. While drivers are more inclined to slow down and drive more cautiously when winter weather turns snowy, rain is such a commonplace issue that it’s often not given the same respect, yet it can be much more dangerous.
This tendency to not take proper precautions during rain can lead to a car accident occurring where it’s easy to establish fault. If, for example, you’re in a rain-related car accident and the other driver doesn’t have their headlights on, they’re violating the law, and at fault. If you’re in a rain-related car accident and another car was not driving at a safe speed to account for the treacherous roads, they may also be at fault (and be breaking the law.) Documenting if any of these issues occurred is important. Don’t forget to take a lot of pictures at the scene that highlight the cars involved and the rainy conditions.
Coverage for a single-car accident due to weather
A single-car accident can happen for a variety of reasons. You can hit an animal in the street, swerve to miss debris or another car or lose control of your car and run into something stationary like a guardrail or stop sign. This third type of single-car accident is frequently due to weather. Slick or icy roads increase your risk of not only being in a car accident with another vehicle, but also damaging your car on your own.
Insurance coverage in these situations depends on the details of the accident itself. If you could have prevented the damage from happening, collision insurance typically covers the accident. If the damage is unexpected and unavoidable, comprehensive insurance may apply. Fault may still be established, and will most likely fall to you since you’re the only driver. However, bad road conditions, and your ability to prove you were driving safely on them, can prevent fault from falling on you.
When a single-car accident due to weather does occur, you’ll still want to follow the same accident protocol as you would if other drivers were involved. Call 911, document the scene of the accident and seek medical attention if necessary. You should also consider contacting a lawyer to work with the insurance agency to ensure you receive appropriate compensation.
Contact a lawyer for weather-related car accidents
Although you may feel like the cause of your car accident is pretty cut-and-dry should weather be involved, don’t assume insurance companies will agree. Protect yourself and contact the legal team at Watson Injury Law. We’ll make sure that no snow, sleet or heavy rain prevents you from getting the compensation you deserve for your car and yourself.