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If My Car Slips On Snow Downhill And Causes Damage, Do I Pay For It?

damage caused by snow

Car accidents can be traumatic, even if there are no injuries. They can also be confusing, especially when bad weather is a contributing factor. For example, if you are driving in the snow and your car slips, it can result in a crash and property damage. As a driver who chooses to head out in bad weather, you may be responsible for the cost of any damages.

There is a good chance that the liability risk does not keep you off the roads in the winter. For example, you may need to drive daily to and from work or school. Alternatively, you might have a planned winter road trip that takes you into snowy conditions. If you choose to get behind the wheel in less-than-ideal road conditions, there are a few facts you should know about.

Common Damages From Winter Weather Car Accidents

Each accident plays out differently, but some results are more common than others. These are some of the more common damages associated with snow-related driving accidents.

Vehicle Damage

Regardless of what you hit with it, you can expect some damage to your vehicle. In most cases, this will require you to file a claim with your insurance company. In addition to paying for repairs, you may also be responsible for the cost of towing your car to a repair facility and a temporary rental.

Property Damage

Impacting a stationary object, such as a utility pole, mailbox, or fence, is relatively common in snowy conditions. So if your car slips downhill in the snow and you strike someone’s parked car, you will probably have to pay for those damages and repair your vehicle.


Even a minor accident can result in injuries. If you are at fault, you may be responsible for medical costs for anyone involved in the accident beyond the limits of your insurance policy. In addition, injured parties may take legal action to recover damages. If you were involved in a car accident due to snowy conditions, it’s a good idea to have your case reviewed by an experienced injury attorney.

Driver Fault in Winter Weather Car Accidents

Many factors go into determining fault in a car accident; the weather is only one of them. However, if the snow was the primary factor in causing the crash, you may be responsible. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and distracted driving are two other factors that may be used to determine liability.

Bad weather and poor road conditions can often be reasonably determined to be dangerous. Drivers who ignore these conditions are responsible for that choice. They willingly risk their safety and that of others to drive in bad conditions.

If you slid on the snow because another driver caused you to slam on the brakes or swerve, that could put some of the fault on the other driver. It is important to note that states have different methods for assigning responsibility in accident situations.

Many states, including Texas, use comparative fault to determine who pays for damages and how much compensation you can recover after an accident. So, even if you are partially at fault, you may still be able to file a claim with another driver’s insurance company for damages.

Other states, like Utah, have adopted a no-fault policy. This means you can apply to your insurance company for damages regardless of who caused the accident.

Insurance Coverage for Snow Related Accidents

Your car insurance may cover costs associated with many snow-related accidents. However, whether or not your insurance company pays for damages often depends on the cause of the accident, the type of coverage you have in place, and your policy limits.

  • Collision — This portion of insurance pays for damage to your own vehicle. For example, if you slide down a hill and hit a utility pole, damaging your car in the process, your collision insurance will usually pay for those damages. 
  • Comprehensive — When ice or snow damages your car outside of an accident, such as a tree limb falling on your vehicle, it is generally covered by the comprehensive portion of your insurance policy. 
  • Liability — This component of your insurance pays when you cause damage to someone else’s property or injure someone in an accident. Your insurance company will cap payouts at the limits you choose on your policy.

There are additional factors that may influence an insurance company’s claims decision. These can include things like driving under the influence and distracted driving which can affect fault. If your insurance claim is denied, the attorneys at Fielding Law may be able to help. Scheduling a free case evaluation is an excellent way to explore your options for compensation.

Avoid Winter Weather Accidents

The best way to avoid liability for an accident in winter weather is to stay off the roads. So, if you are unsure about the road conditions or if driving restrictions have been implemented, then the best course of action is to stay in a safe location. However, if you must go, you can take steps to reduce your chances of having a weather-related car crash.

Practice Safe Driving Habits

While you should always practice safe driving habits, it is more important to do so in bad weather. Failing to follow one rule can result in an accident that causes property damage, injuries, and maybe worse. The following safe driving tips are handy when traveling in winter weather conditions:

  • Drive at a safe speed, which will usually be well below the posted speed limit
  • Increase your following distance
  • Remove distractions from your vehicle
  • Turn off your cruise control
  • Share your route with someone in case you don’t arrive

Avoid Icy Areas

You also want to avoid areas that are prone to icy conditions. These typically include bridges and overpasses. In addition, drainage areas may also be frozen, so use extra caution when crossing them.

Use Appropriate Driving Aids

Your actions can only go so far when the weather turns bad. In those times, it is a good idea to rely on trusted driving aids to get you safely from one place to another. Some examples include:

  • Make sure you have either snow or all-weather tires on your vehicle
  • Fill the windshield washer reservoir with special de-icing fluid
  • Keep a winter emergency kit in your car in case you get stuck or run into a snowbank
  • Use low gear as needed for slippery conditions
  • Use traction aids to help limit slipping

What is considered appropriate can vary depending on where you are. For example, in some areas, you may be required to put chains on your tires during storms. In others, it may only be recommended. It may be better to err on the side of caution in these situations instead of taking unnecessary risks.

Professional Legal Help When You Need It Most

You must know your options if you have been involved in a snow-related accident. You may not be responsible for the costs of damages if another driver is at fault. Additionally, you may be eligible for compensation for injuries suffered during the accident.

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Fielding Law specialize in car accidents. We will review the facts of your case and present you with an unbiased opinion. Contact us at (877) 880-4090 today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.