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Something Not On Your Wish List: Crashes Due to Slick Roads

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on December 5, 2016

It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, New Year’s – all of the big holidays are right around the corner. That means that more people are on the roads visiting family, getting their holiday shopping done, and going to holiday parties. When you combine all of this activity with the slick roads that are present in Seattle during these months, it’s no wonder that the number of accidents in the city increase in the winter. But if you should find yourself in the unlucky predicament of getting into a car accident due to slick roads, who is at fault?

Many people think that car accidents due to bad road conditions (such as hydroplaning or black ice) aren’t their fault, as they couldn’t do anything to improve those road conditions. However, it’s the responsibility of every driver on the road to drive with extra caution in bad road conditions. When there’s a lot of water on the road, drivers are expected to slow down; and they’re also expected to make sure that they have proper tires with good traction on their vehicle. If someone hits you while you’re on the road, and it was because they hydroplaned or spun out on a patch of ice, they can be held responsible, and it’s possible that their insurance company could be responsible for covering your injuries and damages to your car.

What’s surprising to many motorists is that the City of Seattle could sometimes be responsible for the crash. This was the case in December 2013 when the city applied de-icer to the West Seattle Bridge, with the intention of preventing spinouts that were common in a particular area. Instead, the cold weather that day actually crystallized the de-icer, causing three minor-injury accidents. In this case, the city did accept partial blame and some of the motorists were able to go to the city for damages. It really was a no-win situation for the city, as cities and townships can be held liable for damages if they knew there was a problem and did nothing to fix it. Because they were aware of this particular area of the bridge that was known for causing spinouts, they had to try to come up with a solution to fix the problem.

Of course, cases of the city being at fault are rare, but cases of another car slipping on black ice or spinning out, and into your car, unfortunately are not. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being involved in a car accident this holiday season, call Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. toll-free at (888) 228-3860 today! We are qualified Seattle car accident lawyers and we’d love to review your case with you.

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