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Car Accident and Winter Driving Hazards: Who is at Fault?

After nearly every car accident, investigators will attempt to piece together the clues leading up to and following the crash to determine who was at fault. This is not only to hold drivers accountable if their driving was criminal in nature, but also to determine which insurance company – or driver – is liable to pay for the damages. When it freezes here in Everett or Snohomish County and in most parts of Washington, winter weather can be unpredictable and dangerous, sometimes adding to the risks that motorists face.

It doesn’t snow often in Everett, but numerous other weather hazards abound during the winter months. These can include rain, fog, sleet and wind. During the late night and early morning hours, it is not uncommon for drivers to encounter black ice on the roads. This type of ice is usually found on bridges, overpasses or in shady areas of the road. Black ice is especially dangerous because it can be difficult to see, or drivers may mistake it for wet pavement.

Car accidents are sometimes inevitable when the weather is bad, and law enforcement may not hold anyone at fault. More often, however, drivers make a hazardous situation more dangerous by their driving habits. For example, those who choose to drive faster than weather conditions allow significantly increase their chances of causing a wreck.

Alcohol is another factor in many collisions. When a person is driving drunk, impaired judgment is even more serious in bad weather. A recent example illustrates this point. Last November in Gorst, just outside of Bremerton, a drunk driver slammed into the back of a car that was pulling onto State Route 16. The 71-year-old victim was propelled into traffic and killed in a head-on collision. Two other drivers sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The drunk driver faces charges of vehicular manslaughter.

If you are injured in an accident, you may be eligible for compensation. It might be a good idea to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in Everett.

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