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How is fault determined in an accident caused by the weather?

Winter poses many issues, from heavy rains to the potential for sleet or snow. With these kinds of hazards, you may wonder what happens in the case of a car accident. Who will be held responsible, and how can fault be determined with other hazards at play?

Driving in the winter can mean it's more difficult to control your vehicle, especially if you hit a patch of ice or are in difficult-to-navigate weather conditions. An insurance company has to determine fault by reviewing how the accident took place. It considers the weather conditions at the time and what you and the other people involved were doing when the accident occurred.

No matter what the conditions are, it's a driver's job to make sure the vehicle stays under his or her control. If your vehicle slides through a stop sign and impacts someone else, you could still be found to be at fault. Someone who is going too fast and is unable to stop on slick snow could also be held accountable for a crash. In situations where it's impossible to tell who's to blame, a 50-50 determination may be made, where each of you is responsible for paying for your own injuries or the damage to your vehicles.

Preparing ahead of time can help you avoid getting into a wintertime accident. Remember to always defrost your windows, check the tread on your tires and make sure the air pressure of the tires is accurate. With a little bit of planning, you can reduce the risk of causing an accident and help prevent yourself from becoming a victim, too.

Source: Insurance Hotline, "How Fault is Determined in a Winter Accident," accessed Dec. 22, 2016

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