With more than 420 car accident deaths from 2011 to 2015 during the winter months, Ohio is considered the country’s deadliest state for wintertime crashes, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The skilled Columbus car accident lawyers at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy know how treacherous Ohio winters can be. We have assisted accident victims who have suffered brain injuries, fractures, spinal cord injuries and other personal injuries in wintertime car accidents caused by reckless drivers. Contact us today to find out if we can help you after a winter car crash.
Below, learn more about the factors involved in determining fault for a winter car crash and get some tips on how to prevent these accidents.
The Ohio Supreme Court has specifically held that skidding on wet or icy roadways does not excuse a driver from driving on the right-hand side of the road, as required by Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) 4511.25(A) and O.R.C. 4511.26(A).
The state supreme court has also stated that when a driver comes across a patch of ice that causes him or her to lose control of the vehicle and hit a car on the other side of the road, he or she cannot assert the defense of sudden emergency. This means that Ohio drivers can be held liable for accidents they cause even if they have lost control of their vehicles because of weather conditions. Drivers are required to follow all of the rules of the road, even in bad weather.
What If You Are Partially At Fault?
Ohio’s comparative negligence law allows victims to recover for damages even if they shared some responsibility for the accident, provided the victim was 50 percent or less at fault for the accident.
However, even if your percentage of fault is below that figure, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. In other words, a recovery of $50,000 would become $40,000 if you were 20 percent at fault.
Tips For Preventing Winter Car Accidents
Many wintertime car accidents are preventable, especially when following these safety guidelines:
- Consider staying home – Think about whether you really need to venture out. It may be safer to stay home for the day and wait out the weather.
- Slow down – The posted speed limit is for optimal driving conditions. If the roads are icy, reduce your speed to compensate.
- Clear your windshield – Before heading out, clear the extra snow off your vehicle, including from your windshield, headlights and brake lights. This can help improve visibility, which is often reduced in winter weather.
- Keep your distance – Allow for extra space between you and the motorists ahead of you. This extra distance can allow you time to safely slow down before stopping.
- Brake properly – If you have anti-lock brakes, press firmly and hold your brake down when you need to slow down or stop. If you do not have anti-lock brakes, gently pump down on the brakes. Taking these simple steps can help you avoid skidding on the roadway.
- Do not use cruise control – It can extremely dangerous to use this feature in winter weather.
Contact A Car Accident Lawyer In Cincinnati
If a driver causes a wintertime car accident, you may be able to collect compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage and other damages.
Our experienced car accident attorneys can conduct an investigation to determine if the other driver was driving in an unsafe manner. We can also represent you throughout every stage of the legal process, fighting for your best interests.
Contact us today so we can discuss your legal options during a free and confidential case consultation.