Poor weather and bad conditions of the road can enhance the chances of losing control over your car, leading to vehicular accident. Bad weather can cause anyone to have an accident, but you may be surprised to find that Ontario’s at-fault legislation for vehicle accidents continues to apply, even when weather is not on our side.
Determining Fault in an Accident
In Ontario, bad weather, no matter how extreme, does not excuse fault when it comes to a car accident. When in operation of a vehicle, drivers are liable for the outcome at all times – even during bad weather. When weather is bad, drivers are expected to exercise extra caution to prevent accidents, or to remove themselves from the road.
Though it may seem unfair to drivers, insurance companies in Ontario will use the standard laws to determine fault in a car accident, regardless of how bad the weather may be. The one exception to the laws regarding fault in winter accidents is a split-fault determination: insurance companies may occasionally fault both drivers due to a bad-weather collision. Unfortunately, this does not remove liability from either party involved in the accident.
Avoiding a Winter Accident
Ontario drivers face some very intense and very unpredictable weather each year, and it is essential to take precautions to avoid winter accidents in any way that you can.
● Ensure your car is equipped with winter tires, antifreeze, and that your tires are well-inflated
● When facing snow or freezing conditions, reduce speed and increase the distance between vehicles
● Make sure that the windshield, all windows, and all lights are free of snow and ice to increase visibility
At-Fault Winter Accidents
When a bad-weather accident takes place, the collision is treated as any other accident would be by your insurance company. The driver that is deemed “at-fault” for the accident will have to pay for damages through their insurance. Depending on the severity of the accident, these expenses could be quite high.
If you are in a winter accident, the chances of an insurance company trying to split the fault between both drivers, or trying to make a claim that the other party was to blame is much more common. If you are involved in a winter-weather collision, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. An experienced injury lawyer in Sault Ste. Marie can help to guide you through the legal process of establishing fault, and the steps that may follow for your insurance company.
You should consider getting legal representation whether you were deemed at fault, or partially responsible for the accident. Though the process may seem straightforward at first, it is always in your best interest to protect yourself.