Who is liable for a car accident caused by snow or black ice?

Most people know that driving on icy or snowy roads is dangerous, but others drivers ignore warnings and continue to drive recklessly in these hazardous conditions. If you were injured in a car accident caused by snow or black ice, you may be eligible to file a claim for injury compensation if another driver caused your accident.

Unfortunately, it is often not that easy. The driver will likely deny liability, but if s/he was not driving safely enough for the conditions, you can hold him/her responsible for your damages. A Kirkland car accident lawyer at Max Meyers Law can help: 425-242-5595.

What is black ice and why is it so dangerous?

Black ice, which can occur during rain or snow, is transparent ice found on asphalt. Black ice is so dangerous because it looks just like the road beneath it. This means that drivers may not be aware of it until they are sliding across it and heading for a potentially serious collision.

Who is liable in an accident caused by black ice or snow?

The most likely locations of black ice are on bridges and overpasses, or places that are shaded by trees or buildings. The times of greatest risk are from dusk until dawn, when the temperatures are generally the coldest.

Another Driver

Drivers must take special care when navigating through these areas at these times. If a driver does not exercise heightened caution under these dangerous conditions and causes an accident, s/he is likely liable for any damages.

For example, if a driver was going a little bit too fast for conditions, s/he may be liable for any accidents and injuries s/he causes, even if s/he was driving under a normally recognized speed limit.

Obviously, if the driver was behaving recklessly at the time (e.g., speeding, texting, driving while impaired), the driver will likely be liable for your damages.

Note: The location can play a big factor in liability. For example, if an individual was driving on a dry road in the middle of the day and hit a patch of black ice, s/he may not be liable for injuries as a reasonable person would not have expected black ice to be there.


If you were involved in a solo accident caused by winter weather, you will likely have to rely on your own insurance company to cover the damages. This may be true even if you had no idea there would be black ice or if you were driving reasonably.

Washington State

In some cases, Washington State might be liable if it knew or should have known there was black ice and did nothing to prevent it or rid the area of it. Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) roadway condition goals include anti-icing treatments before, during, and after a winter event. If you can prove WSDOT neglected any of these stages, it may be liable.

Note: The State will likely not be liable if there was no reason for it to think that there would be icy conditions in the area.

Proving the State knew of the black ice — or potential for it — can be very difficult. We can help you prove Washington State knew and is therefore liable for your injuries.

How can I recover compensation for my accident caused by black ice or snow?

The first thing you need to do after being involved in a car accident caused by black ice or snow is to call a lawyer. We can examine your case and determine if the other driver was behaving recklessly at the time of collision. We can also investigate and determine if Washington State knew or should have known about the black ice at the location of your collision.

If you were injured in a weather-related accident due to the negligence of someone else, you should not attempt to recover compensation alone. Contact Max Meyers Law today to schedule your appointment for a free consultation: 425-242-5595.

Max Meyers
Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.