Car Accidents Caused by Bad Weather: Who’s at Fault?

The courts rarely accept that the weather was to blame for a car accident. If you have been injured on the roads, and the driver is denying fault on account of the conditions, you could still be entitled to make a claim.

Car accidents caused by weather conditions

Winter is just around the corner, and that inevitably means more hazardous driving conditions. Snow, ice, rain, fog, low sunsets and long hours of darkness: they all make driving much more difficult. Vehicles may spin out of control or aquaplane. Limited visibility may result in head-on collisions or pedestrian accidents. And when it’s wet or icy, vehicles may find it harder to stop.

Who is at fault for a bad weather car accident?

But can the weather be blamed for a car accident?

No, not really. All drivers have a duty of operate their vehicle safely, no matter what the weather conditions. Where an accident occurs, the driver who triggered the incident is likely to be held responsible – even if the weather was a contributing factor. This is particularly true if the driver was acting negligently in some way, such as:

  • Speeding or driving at an unsafe speed for the conditions
  • Tailgating
  • Driving a vehicle with worn out brakes
  • Driving a vehicle not fitted with winter tires, or with bald tires
  • Driving a vehicle with some other defect, such as a broken headlight or ineffective windscreen wipers

Even if the driver was operating their vehicle safely, it could be argued that they should not have been driving on the roads at all, given the conditions. If both drivers triggered the accident – for example, both vehicles spun out of control at the same time and collided – then liability will be shared.

ICBC benefits

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia, then you’re entitled to claim ICBC benefits. These are available under ICBC’s Enhanced Care coverage, which provides care and recovery benefits for as long as you need. You can also claim up to 90% of your net income in wage loss benefits, up to $100,000 per year. ICBC operates a no-fault system, so all injured parties will receive benefits, if required. However, the liable party will face increased insurance premiums.

Can I make a claim too?

If the driver responsible for the accident is convicted of certain Criminal Code offences, then you’ll also be able to make a personal injury claim. This allows you to recover compensation for your pain and suffering, which ICBC benefits do not account for. Therefore, the issue of liability is still relevant when a motor vehicle accident happens, especially if you’re pursuing a tort claim. If the driver is trying to absolve themselves of blame because of the weather conditions, then this is unlikely to stand up in court.

Speak to our Vancouver personal injury lawyers

There is a considerable rise in the number of motor vehicle accidents during the winter months. While the conditions are certainly behind this spike in incidents, that does not excuse drivers who cause accidents and injuries. If you are harmed through no fault of your own, then you deserve all the financial support available.

To speak to our Vancouver personal injury lawyers, either fill in the free online enquiry form or call us on 604 684 0040.

Go back to Blog
Go Back To Top