When you drive in the wintertime, there are more dangers on the road that you could encounter. Icy roads are one of the most common causes of accidents during the winter months. Whether it be invisible black ice or iced-over potholes, an accident involving ice can damage your car and injure you severely.

Weather in the winter can disrupt plans like holiday parties or important events. Now you have expenses to pay because of someone else’s unsafe driving. If you were injured in an accident on an icy road in Tucson, AZ, we may be able to help you get compensation for your losses.

What Are Arizona’s Fault Laws in Car Accidents?

When you get into an accident on an icy road, you may be quick to blame the roads. However, drivers are still at fault because they are responsible for adjusting their driving to be safe, even if weather conditions are not. This can make determining fault in accidents during the winter more difficult.

Arizona has an at-fault law for car accidents, so the driver who causes the accident pays for your damages. However, Arizona is also a comparative negligence state which splits the fault between parties that may be responsible for the accident. The comparative negligence law allows both parties to seek compensation, but their award will be reduced by the percentage they were at fault for the accident.

How Can You Determine Fault in Icy Road Accidents During the Winter?

Icy roads can sometimes blur the lines between what party is at fault in the accident. Winter accidents may have more than one person at fault because multiple factors can contribute to the accident.

Depending on your case, your lawyer or other professionals may examine other parties’ behavior to determine fault more accurately. If the accident doesn’t clearly demonstrate fault, looking at some of the parties below could help clarify the situation.

Private Roads and Public Roads

If the accident occurred on a public or private road, the difficulty of determining fault could vary. According to A.R.S. § 33-422, the owner of a private road must maintain it. If you got into an accident on a private road that was not properly maintained, the road owner could share fault. You must prove that the road owner had hazards that caused the accident.

If you got into an accident on a public road, recovering damages might be more difficult. However, if the road did not have basic safety features like guardrails or if there was a significant pothole, you may be able to file a claim against the government. Your lawyer can help you figure out who is responsible for the road the accident occurred on and what the next steps should be.

A Lack of Car Maintenance Could Be to Blame

Winter weather can take a toll on cars, requiring more visits to the auto shop to make sure everything is functioning correctly. Every driver must keep their vehicle in good shape to keep themselves and other drivers safe.

In some cases where fault is difficult to determine, a lawyer may order a car inspection as a piece of evidence. If the auto shop finds that the at-fault driver’s car had problems that contributed to the accident that a car inspection could have prevented, this puts the fault on the driver. Common car problems that could cause an accident on an icy road include:

  • Wiper fluid is empty: Wiper fluid is important all year round, especially in winter. Wiper fluid can help melt and break up the ice that often freezes to the windshield, which blocks the driver’s view. If the other driver didn’t have wiper fluid, they could not see the road clearly to avoid your car when they slid on the ice.
  • Brakes not working properly: Brakes can decrease the distance a car slides on ice which could avoid an accident. If the other driver’s brakes weren’t working properly due to frozen brake fluid, they may be at fault.
  • Low tire pressure: Tire pressure helps cars’ wheels grip the road, even if it’s icy. But if the other driver had low tire pressure, which they could have fixed, they could not avoid hitting you because their tires didn’t have a firm enough grip.

All Drivers Should Take Precautions on Icy Roads

It’s important to always practice safe driving, especially in the winter when the roads are more dangerous. If the driver that hit you wasn’t practicing safe driving, they could be at fault. Even if the roads are very unsafe, the driver should exercise caution and try to avoid causing an accident. Examples of unsafe winter driving practices can include:

  • Speeding, especially around curves
  • Not maintaining extra following distance
  • Not using blinkers to indicate turns or lane changes

Unsafe driving is the most dangerous in winter because you don’t know what can happen next. For example, you may be driving along one minute, but you hit a patch of black ice that can send you sliding across lanes.

How Long do I Have to File a Claim in Arizona?

From the day of the accident, you will have two years to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. If you don’t file a lawsuit within two years, you risk the court dismissing your case, and you will not be able to recover compensation.

However, there may be an exception to the time you have to file your claim. Arizona has a discovery rule that can extend the time you have to file a lawsuit. Arizona’s discovery rule states that if you do not have any injuries at the time of the accident but have injuries at a later time, the two years you have to file start when you discover those injuries.

The time limit for reporting a car accident in Arizona to your insurance company can vary depending on your insurance provider. You can find the time limit in your insurance policy terms or ask your lawyer about it.

Damages You Can Recover from an Icy Road Accident

When you’ve been in an accident in the winter, the damages may be more costly than if it were another season. In an icy road accident, sliding cars can cause greater physical damage to your body and car. Some damages you may be able to recover include:

  • Lost Wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Vehicle repairs

We’ll thoroughly study the details of your case to find the damages you can receive based on your case. We offer a free case evaluation where one of our lawyers will look at your case to see if your case is valid. If you have a valid case, we can give you an estimate of your damages.

Contact an Icy Road Accident Lawyer in Tucson

Icy roads can cause unexpected and costly disruptions in your life. At Zanes Law, we understand that unexpected expenses and injuries can be overwhelming.

That’s why we dedicate ourselves to your case and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us or fill out the form on our contact us page to book your free consultation today.

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