Truck Accidents Due to Bad Weather

Our attorneys fight for injury victims and their families

You’re likely already aware that when bad weather hits, truck accidents and other collisions happen. High winds, heavy rains and even hurricane threats can easily turn a familiar route into a hostile and possible life-threatening ordeal. The risk of a collision increases when truck drivers don’t adjust to weather conditions.

Rain obscuring view out of windshield during bad weather

Yet, no matter how prepared you are, or think you are, for unfriendly road conditions, a collision involving a big rig is likely to result in serious injuries, or even death. At Fried Goldberg LLC, our truck accident lawyers know how to hold negligent parties accountable. 

We have worked with victims or victims’ family members who were injured or killed by the dangerous combination of negligence and driving in bad weather. We understand how frustrating it can be for you to sort out the details of a bad weather accident with both law enforcement and your insurance provider.

Even when Mother Nature played a role in the wreck, it is possible that you may be entitled to financial compensation for the damage caused to you and your vehicle.

Liability while driving during bad weather

Some may assume that a bad weather trucking accident has just one “at fault” party: Mother Nature. But, in fact, driving in bad weather entails the same responsibility as when driving in weather that is cooperative. In other words, inclement weather is not a legitimate excuse for an accident.

According to federal regulations, truck drivers must exercise extreme caution when driving in dangerous weather conditions. But be aware that big-rig operators do not have the option of staying home or rerouting their course during poor weather. Consequently, if you are on the road when a storm is present, there’s a high chance that you will encounter a large truck.

The reality is that while it is the duty of all drivers to exercise extreme caution during bad weather when you combine difficult driving conditions with sharing the road with truck drivers who have a tough schedule to meet, trucking accidents may be more likely to happen.

Types of inclement weather that can lead to accidents

While a big commercial truck may look immovable, bad weather conditions are especially dangerous for semi-trucks. A tractor-trailer’s high center of gravity, the narrow distance between the left and right wheels and the heavy, unstable load it carries make it vulnerable to small changes. Any sudden change of direction causes a chain reaction – the change in height pulls the vehicle to the ground.

Weather obstacles that may cause a truck accident to happen can include:

  • Windstorms – The top-heavy structure makes a truck’s chance of tipping over on the road more likely during high winds. The stronger and more unpredictable the wind, the greater the truck’s chance of tipping over on the road. If this happens, a big-rig rollover can be devastating to the truck driver and nearby drivers.
  • Heavy rain or snow – A hydroplaning truck ranks as one of the most dangerous forces you can encounter. Rain, snow and ice have similar negative effects on the road, as they make surfaces slippery. Ice is considered slightly more dangerous than rain, because ice affects a truck’s traction. For a large truck traveling at a high rate of speed, this lack of traction makes steering and braking all but useless. If you come across a semi-truck or big rig that has lost control due to an icy street or highway, you may be more vulnerable.
  • Lightning storms or thunderstorms – Some accidents may be caused because of the alarm the weather may create. Sudden lightning or violent noise from storms can frighten drivers, causing them to slam on their brakes. Any sudden movements can raise the chances that a driver will lose control of their truck.
  • Fog – Reduced visibility can cause drivers to veer out of their lanes. Drivers who do not use headlights and taillights effectively, or have non-functioning equipment, may cause risk to fellow drivers.

Despite work schedules and deadlines, it is important for truck drivers to be mindful of public safety, and when necessary: reduce speed, exercise extreme caution and even pull over during hazardous conditions.

What the law says about driver responsibility

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) state unequivocally that “extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions” exist. And Article § 392.14 of the FMCSR states that extreme caution must be used in any situation where “snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust or smoke adversely affect visibility or traction.”

Federal regulations are very clear that “the driver” is responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle. Furthermore, commercial truck drivers are to cease operation of the vehicle if there are extremely hazardous driving conditions. However, just because this is the law, doesn’t mean that it is always followed.

So, who or what is to blame for a collision during poor weather? Ultimately, there are many factors that may have contributed to the accident besides weather, including road and driver conditions. While determining liability may seem obvious in some situations, each case is truly unique. Liability is determined by the courts after thorough investigation.

What to do if you are hurt in an accident involving bad weather

Hire an attorney as soon as possible. Commercial trucks and big rigs often have complex insurance plans, and reaching a proper settlement amount may be difficult. In the event that your accident claim is not paid, suing for compensation is complicated and time-consuming.

If you have been the victim of a trucking accident while driving in bad weather, you need the help of Georgia’s premier trucking attorneys to fight for your rights. Our attorneys know that a collision involving a big rig is likely to result in serious injuries that may render you unable to work for weeks or months afterward.

We can make sure that you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve to cover your hospital bills, vehicle repairs and the pain and suffering you have endured.

Our firm dedicates the majority of our caseload to trucking accidents, and we will take the burden of filing your claim off your shoulders. We can investigate your crash to gather evidence that helps us establish truck driver negligence or trucking company negligence to prove liability, and fight to recover maximum compensation. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation about your accident. We are here to help and look forward to hearing from you.

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