Cincinnati Car Accidents Caused by Ice or Snow - Am I at Fault

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Cincinnati car accidents caused when a car slides on ice or snow are common place when winter weather  strikes. The question this article answers is whether auto crashes are excused because a car slid on the ice or  snow causing a bodily injury. This involves the application of Ohio tort law and the interpretation of traffic law.


Auto Crashes Caused by Snow or Ice in Ohio Are Normally Not  Excused 

The scenario of a traffic wreck, because a car could not stop in time and rear ended another motor vehicle, are played out over and over again in snowy and icy conditions. The crashes could occur in other ways such as a car spinning into another lane or actually sliding off the road. Sometimes the crashes are so numerous that the police may not even respond if there is no injury.

However, it has long been the Law of Ohio that skidding or sliding snow or ice, even if the motor vehicles speed was slow will not excuse the driver that crashed into an innocent motor vehicle or injured its own passenger. ( Oechsle v. Hart)

In the Ohio Supreme Court case of Oechsle v. Hart, the Ohio court dealt with a car crash . The facts were that  the car went left of center when it hit an unexpected patch of ice and crashed into a car in the opposite direction. There was no other evidence of bad road conditions. The Supreme Court held that the laws governing driving on the right side of the road required strict compliance. And the ice did not excuse the car driver from failing to stay on its side of the road.


Sudden Emergency Doctrine Usually No Excuse

Often defendants will argue  that there was a sudden emergency that made it impossible to comply with the law. However the sudden emergency must be something over which the defendant had no control.  Skidding on a wet, snowy or icy pavement is something which a car driver can prevent.

Some cases do involve a true sudden emergency. Such as when someone comes into your lane unexpectedly causing you to have to hit your brakes to avoid them but you can not stop and crash into another car or pedestrian. In that case the Ohio Supreme Court says that can be an excuse. (Satterhwaite v. Morgan)

So even though the odds are that the person that rear ended you, or went left of center , or ran off the road injuring others in their car, other cars or pedestrians there can possibly be an out. If there is a possible out then an insurance adjustor is going to use that to deny, delay, or minimize payment. So it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Also if you are an Ohio resident that was injured because of snow and ice in another state the law may be different. I found this out representing a lady from Ohio that was injured in a Tennessee car crash that involved an amputation to her arm. I found one of the better attorneys in that state to co-counsel the case with.


By Anthony Castelli Attorney

Citations: Oechsle v. Hart

Satterthwaite v. Morgan,

About the Author

Anthony Castelli has dedicated his legal professional career for over 30 years to representing injury victims harmed by the neglect of others. He offers a free claim evaluation and works on a contingency fee which means no hourly bills. His fee comes out of any recovery of money he makes for you. Call him today locally in Cincinnati at 513-621-2345.

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