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Can You Sue if Ice Flies off a Car and Damages Your Vehicle?

Wisconsinites may be used to it, but that doesn’t make it any easier or more pleasant. We’re talking about, of course, seeing your vehicle completely frozen solid. If you regularly park outside, you know how long it can take just to open your door, let alone clear all the snow and ice off your windshield, mirrors, and windows.

However, as this blog will show, it’s important to clear the snow and ice off your car completely before you hit the road. Neglecting to do so can put you and others at risk—not just of injury, but of liability, too!

In fact, it’s possible to sue another driver if ice flies off their car and damages your vehicle. However, the process can be complicated, and it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and build a strong case. Read on to learn the intricacies of this icy scenario, and how the attorneys at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help.

The Dangers of Flying Ice on the Road

Flying snow and ice aren’t just hazards for vehicles—they can also put occupants and other motorists at risk. Some of the most common risks of flying ice include:

  • Vehicle Damage: This can include dents, scratches, and even broken windshields. In some cases, damage can be significant enough to render the vehicle inoperable.
  • Obscuring Vision: Flying snow and ice can obscure another driver’s windshield, which can lead to dangerous and deadly situations on the roadway.
  • Injury to Passengers and Drivers: Flying ice can also hurt passengers and drivers, especially if it breaks the windshield or causes the driver to crash. Injuries can include cuts, bruises, and even head trauma or broken bones.
  • Property Damage: Flying ice can also damage other property on the roadway, such as streetlights, signs, and buildings. This can be costly to repair and can even result in the closure of businesses or roads.

In the worst cases, damage caused by flying ice can be severe and result in significant financial losses for those affected. It’s important to take action to prevent this type of damage, including regularly removing ice and snow from your vehicle and reporting any vehicles you see on the road with ice or snow falling from them.

It is also crucial to have liability insurance coverage that can help mitigate the cost of the damages you may cause by failing to clear ice from your vehicle.

Are Drivers Responsible for Preventing Flying Ice and Snow?

Just as you can sue when a driver’s negligence causes them to crash into you on the road, even if the crash was affected by weather conditions, you can also sue if a driver fails to clear ice and snow from their vehicle and it flies off, causing damage to your vehicle or causing you to crash.

This goes both ways, of course, which means it’s crucial to clear the snow and ice from your car before you drive. If the snow on your windshield obscures your visibility and causes you to crash, you can be held liable for the damages through your own negligence. If that same snow flies off your car and damages another vehicle, you can be held responsible for that too.

Damaged by Flying Ice? A Step-by-Step Guide on What to Do Next

If you’re hit by flying ice on the roadway, it’s important to take immediate action to protect yourself and your vehicle. In addition, what you do after the accident can bolster your claim for damages. Here are a few steps you should take:

  1. Pull Over to a Safe Location: If you’re hit by flying ice while driving, it’s important to pull over to a safe location as soon as possible. This will help to prevent any further damage to your vehicle.
  2. Document the Accident: Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the other car, if possible and safe to do so. Also, try to get the contact information of any witnesses and the other driver’s contact information as well.
  3. Contact the Police: Contact the police as soon as possible to report the accident. The police report will serve as crucial documentation of the accident for legal and insurance purposes.
  4. Contact Your Insurance Company: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident. They will be able to provide you with information on how to proceed and file a claim.
  5. Seek Medical Attention: After the accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you feel fine, it’s important to be evaluated by a medical professional as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
  6. Seek Legal Advice: After an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s wise to seek legal advice from a personal injury attorney. They can help you navigate the legal system and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your damages.

Insurance Coverage for Ice-Related Damages

Given the recurring risk of damage from flying ice, it’s crucial to understand what role auto insurance can play in these scenarios. Here’s how standard auto insurance policies typically address such accidents:

  • Comprehensive Coverage: This optional add-on to an auto insurance policy covers damages to your car that are not caused by a collision. If flying ice damages your windshield or the body of your car, comprehensive coverage typically covers the repair costs.
  • Collision Coverage: Like comprehensive coverage, collision coverage is generally optional and not included in a basic liability policy. However, if your vehicle is damaged due to a collision resulting from ice on the road, collision coverage can come into play. This includes hitting a patch of ice and crashing into another object, such as a guardrail or another vehicle.
  • Liability Coverage: This mandatory coverage is used if you’re at fault in causing damage to another vehicle due to ice flying off your car. It covers the costs of repairing the other party’s vehicle and any medical expenses if there are injuries. However, liability coverage does not cover damages to your own vehicle.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This coverage protects you if another driver causes damage to your vehicle (e.g., from ice flying off their vehicle) and they don’t have sufficient insurance to cover your damages.

Keep in mind that most of these coverages come with deductibles and limits. It’s important to regularly review your auto insurance policy, especially before the winter season, to ensure you have adequate coverage for all potential hazards. And in the unfortunate scenario that you get into an accident involving flying ice, an auto accident attorney can help you file a claim to ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.

Brian Hodgkiss Injury Law Has Seen It All

Being Wisconsinites ourselves, our auto accident attorneys have witnessed all manner of winter-related accidents. If you or someone you love was hurt in a crash involving ice and snow, the Green Bay auto accident lawyers at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers want to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Originally published January 17, 2023. Updated January 10, 2024.

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