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Wadsworth winter car accident attorneyWith weather that fluctuates daily in Ohio and surrounding states, it can be difficult to become accustomed to driving on icy roads. As a result, car accidents with minor to serious injuries can occur frequently. Winter may come around every year, but that does not mean that everyone on the road is prepared to battle the weather while behind the wheel. Sometimes, the “problem driver” is not you, but the negligent motorist next to you on the road. While you cannot control the weather or everyone else around you, it is important to be aware of how the reckless actions of drivers around you can cause an accident. These may include:

Failure to Perform Required Maintenance

Before the winter season begins, drivers are responsible for making sure their cars are prepared for the winter weather. Testing a car's battery is an important step to take, since battery power decreases as the temperature drops, making it fairly common to have a dead battery in the middle of winter. Tire pressure also drops in low temperatures, and checking tires regularly can keep motorists from experiencing a blown-out tire or sliding on the streets. Not using wiper fluid that is rated for 30 degrees below zero to avoid frozen liquid on the windshield can impair a driver’s ability to see clearly.

Being Unprepared Before Getting Behind the Wheel

Unfortunately, driving in the winter can be a more complex process than driving during warmer weather. With snow and ice building up on a car’s windshield, all drivers should perform a quick check before getting on the road. Warming up the car for a few minutes before driving is a good way to make sure that everything is in proper working order. Drivers who do not take the time to remove dirt, snow, and ice from mirrors, windows, and assistive-driving features like rear back-up cameras can put themselves and others at risk. Many motorists may forget to clear the cameras but still rely on them for parking, which places them in a dangerous situation since they cannot see their surroundings. 

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Medina personal injury attorneyWhen an injury-causing accident happens, there is often more than one reason the accident occurred. For example, a car accident may be caused by a combination of poor weather, intoxicated driving, and a traffic violation like speeding. 

When an injured person brings a personal injury lawsuit against another party, the court must consider all of the factors that led up to the accident, and many personal injury cases involve more than one party who acted negligently. In some cases, the person bringing the personal injury claim was in some way partly to blame for the accident. In situations like these, comparative negligence laws dictate the amount of damages a partially at-fault claimant can pursue.

Ohio Comparative Negligence Laws

Comparative negligence, sometimes called comparative fault, is a legal concept that dictates how damages are reduced when a claimant’s negligence contributed to their accident. Different states have different laws regarding comparative negligence. In some states, a claimant cannot pursue any damages through a personal injury lawsuit if he or she was even slightly at fault for the injury-causing accident. Fortunately, Ohio courts follow a shared negligence model called “modified comparative fault.” In Ohio, a claimant is still allowed to pursue compensation for their damages as long as they are less than 51 percent at fault for the accident. Put another way, the claimant can still bring a personal injury lawsuit as long as they were not more at fault than the defendant.

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