Bad road conditions coupled with heavy northern Virginia traffic is a recipe for disaster. When road conditions are bad, drivers are responsible for making safe choices on the road. If you are involved in an accident, the insurance company will scrutinize the details of the accident. If you are found at fault, you may be barred from recovery.
We have talked about contributory negligence before. If you are at fault for your accident, even 1% at fault, you are barred from recovery in Virginia. This is a tough policy, but a good reason to be extra careful on Virginia roads year-round. When someone is in an accident, the insurance company investigates the cause of the accident and recreates the events to determine who is at fault.
The insurance company presumes that no matter what the road conditions are, the driver must keep control of their vehicle. This means that if your vehicle slips on ice and you rear-end another driver, you are at fault because you could not control the vehicle.
You could try to make the case that the road conditions contributed to the accident, but this rarely works. In some cases, the insurance company will state they believe the accident was caused by both parties (50/50 at fault) and the main culprit was road conditions. However, this still places fault on the driver's shoulders and not the road conditions. If you want to dispute the results of the insurance company’s investigation into an accident, you will have to show another driver was responsible for the accident, not the road conditions.