The Impact of Colorado Weather on Personal Injury Cases

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As Colorado residents, you know that we’re blessed with a ton of sunshine throughout the year, even in the winter. However, that doesn’t mean that we’re not accustomed to severe winter weather like blizzards, snow, and ice storms for a good portion of the year.

No matter how experienced you are driving on icy roads or in winter conditions, no one is immune to slipping on a patch of black ice, experiencing zero visibility during a complete whiteout, or being thrown out of your lane by a large gust of wind. In fact, according to a report by the American Meteorological Society, rain and snow increase the risk of a fatal car crash by 34%!

Not to mention, slippery conditions make the likelihood of slip and fall accidents increase as sidewalks and parking lots practically become ice rinks.

Even when driving with extreme precaution in wintry conditions or walking carefully on the sidewalk, the elements can take over at any time and create an injury-causing accident that leads to costly repairs, expensive medical bills, and pain and suffering as you heal in the aftermath. 

When these types of accidents occur, who is liable for the auto accident? If you’re injured after slipping and falling on an icy walkway, can the property owner be held liable for your damages? Does the law recognize winter road conditions as a factor when determining fault in a personal injury case? Continue reading below as we break down how Colorado weather can impact personal injury cases so you can better understand your rights on the road. 

What Types of Accidents Can Colorado Weather Cause?

Before we dive deeper into the liability of such cases, let’s discuss some of the common accidents that fall under the umbrella of personal injury that tend to increase in the winter months. 

Mainly, we see Colorado weather impacting the instances of automobile accidents, pedestrian accidents, and slip and fall cases. While the circumstances surrounding each of these incidents can vary greatly from case to case, the underlying factor we’re discussing here is how wintery, icy, and slippery conditions can make these types of cases more likely during certain parts of the year. 

How Is Fault Determined in Car Crash Cases or Pedestrian Accidents?

Regarding car accidents, Colorado is an “at fault” state, meaning insurance companies will assess which driver was the most at fault for the crash, or at least 51% responsible for the accident. 

This is still true even when there are wintery road conditions present. In such circumstances, drivers should reduce their speed, maintain a proper distance, or take the proper precautions for the prevailing weather. Colorado drivers are expected to maintain control of their vehicles and operate them safely in any weather conditions. 

The driver determined to be at fault may be held liable for damages the accident victim faces like bills for medical treatment, vehicle repairs, lost wages and more. 

The Relation Between Winter Weather and Premises Liability Laws

Colorado property owners should be aware of premises liability laws and their duty of care to maintain a safe environment for visitors–whether that be patrons to a business or personal guests to an individual’s residence. 

In other words, Colorado law expects property owners to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition, even in the winter. Colorado’s variable weather poses substantial considerations, as property owners may be held liable if they neglect to address weather-related hazards, like clearing ice or snow promptly. However, it is true that there’s an expectation for individuals to exercise reasonable care in these conditions. 

Thus, Colorado weather conditions can be a crucial factor in establishing negligence and determining liability in a slip and fall personal injury claim. 

Winter Safety Tips

If you want to avoid a devastating motor vehicle accident or painful slip and fall from icy conditions, check out the following winter safety tips. Not only can these suggestions help keep you safe and uninjured, but they can also help you avoid possible liability by preventing dangerous car crashes or slip and fall injuries. 

  • Slow down: Drivers should adjust their speed in adverse conditions to improve reaction times
  • Maintain proper driving distance: Safe following distance may need to be extended in winter road conditions 
  • Invest in winter tires: Consider swapping out tires for winter tires for improved traction on snow and ice
  • Brake carefully: Brake gently on icy roads to avoid skidding on icy patches
  • Keep visibility clear: For best visibility, ensure all windows and mirrors are clear of ice and frost before driving
  • Proper use of crosswalks: Drivers should yield to all crosswalks, and pedestrians should only cross the street at designated crosswalks 
  • Walk on cleared sidewalks: Avoid walking on icy sidewalks, and take paths that have been cleared of ice and snow if possible 
  • Wear the proper footwear: Wear proper winter footwear with adequate traction to prevent slipping 
  • Prompt snow removal: Property owners should keep all sidewalks, driveways, and parking areas free from snow and ice
  • Apply salt/sand: Apply salt or sand to walkways as needed to prevent slips
  • Adequate warning signs: Property owners should use warning signs to indicate slippery areas or potential hazards that they’re aware of

Contact Sandene Law–the Expert Denver Personal Injury Attorney

When you’re thinking of filing a Colorado personal injury claim after being in a car crash or a slip and fall accident, and you’re curious how winter conditions may impact liability in your case, contact Sandene Law. Personal injury law and filing a claim can seem daunting to those unfamiliar with the process, though our experienced team is ready and willing to lend a helping hand. 

As some of the top-rated Denver personal injury lawyers, the team at Sandene Law has over a decade of hands-on experience representing clients like you to provide the expert legal representation they need to recover the compensation they deserve. 

If you have questions about your unique situation and want to know more about the winter weather impact on personal injury cases, reach out today for your free consultation. 


How do insurance companies decide who’s to blame in a car crash during snowy weather in Colorado?

Insurance companies in Colorado decide who’s at fault in a car crash during snowy weather by looking at who was driving responsibly. They check if drivers were being careful, like slowing down and keeping a safe distance.

What does it mean for property owners to keep their place safe in winter, and what do they have to do exactly?

Property owners in Colorado have to make sure their places are safe in winter by clearing snow and ice from sidewalks and driveways. They need to do this promptly to prevent accidents.

Can anyone else besides property owners get in trouble if someone slips on ice, like the city or a business?

Yes, besides property owners, others like the city or businesses can also be held responsible if someone slips on ice. If they knew about the danger but didn’t fix it, they could be in trouble too.

Do property owners or drivers have any excuses if they didn’t clear snow or ice fast enough?

Property owners or drivers might not have an excuse if they didn’t clear snow or ice quickly. But if there was a really bad storm or they didn’t have the right tools, that might be a reason.

If more than one person is at fault for a winter accident, how do they figure out who has to pay for what?

If more than one person is at fault for a winter accident, they figure out who has to pay by looking at how much each person was responsible. They might have to pay for their share of the damage or injuries.

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