Truck accidents caused by poor weather, such as fog and rain can cause devastating accidents that result in life-changing injuries.
Commercial vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, meaning that the impact of a large truck on a much smaller passenger car, often only weighing a few thousand pounds, is astronomical, causing much more damage than a regular car accident would.
Large truck accidents are often responsible for serious injuries, complications, and wrongful death. Those involved in truck accidents are left with mountains of medical debt that may seem impossible to pay off.
In the United States, there were 5,005 large trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2019, a 43% increase since 2010. Most frequently, the fatal party is an occupant of a passenger vehicle. According to the Federal Highway Administration, weather-related conditions play a part in 21% of all crashes and 16% of fatal crashes.
Large Trucks are Vulnerable to Poor Weather Conditions
An 18-wheeler takes 40% more time to stop than a passenger car does, meaning that following distance and speed are incredibly important when it comes to truck driving. With bad weather conditions in the mix, the time needed to stop increases, making it much harder to stop or slow down. Truck drivers must drive with utmost caution in order to prevent accidents from occurring during storms.
While truck drivers are more vulnerable to changing weather conditions, they also should have the training necessary to remain calm and safe during storms. If a driver has a lack of training in poor weather conditions, they could easily cause an accident.
Types of Weather Conditions that Affect Trucks
In Florida, there are various different weather conditions that make it difficult for truck drivers to drive safely, including fast-paced winds, heavy rain, and fog.
Commercial trucks are very top-heavy, and they have a huge chance of tipping over. When fast winds hit a truck, a rollover accident can occur. These accidents are hard to avoid from the perspective of the driver, but not impossible. A rollover accident can cause a pileup of cars, especially if it blocks the entire lane or road.
When there’s a heavy rainstorm, a truck could hydroplane. A hydroplaning truck is incredibly dangerous, especially if the driver doesn’t know how to properly stop the vehicle. It may run into other lanes, driving other vehicles off the road. A hydroplaning commercial truck could also run traffic lights or stop signs if the driver is unable to stop the vehicle.
Heavy fog may also cause accidents, as drivers might not be able to see very far in front of them. This is incredibly dangerous when driving a large commercial truck, as drivers may not be able to see if there are vehicles close to them in front, back, or sides. Because commercial trucks have a large stopping distance, they could accidentally rear-end someone that they can’t see.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against a Truck Driver That Hit Me Because of Bad Weather?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) states that “extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions exist.” The FMCSR makes it very clear that the driver is responsible for the safe operation of the commercial vehicle, just like passenger vehicle operators are responsible for the safe operation of their own vehicles.
So, who takes the blame when an accident occurs in bad weather? There are many factors at play in these types of accidents, which is why it’s so important to hire an attorney to represent your case.
Florida uses comparative fault when determining liability for an accident, meaning that you can collect damages proportional to the percentage of fault that you have for the accident. So, even if you are at fault for the accident by some percentage, you’re still able to receive compensation.
How Much is My Truck Accident Settlement Worth?
The amount of compensation you receive for your damages in the form of a settlement depends on a variety of different factors, including:
- How at-fault each party is for the accident
- How severe your injuries are
- Your total cumulative damages (economic, non-economic, and punitive)
- The at-fault party’s available insurance coverage
Every case is different, so it can be difficult to predict your settlement value without speaking with an attorney. An experienced attorney will keep you informed every step of the way, especially throughout settlement negotiations.
When to Hire an Attorney for my Commercial Truck Accident Case
Hiring a personal injury attorney is vital when it comes to receiving a high settlement offer. You should always hire an attorney before you speak with any insurance companies to avoid damaging your case by accident.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident because of bad weather, please contact one of our talented truck accident attorneys here at Jones Law Group. We pride ourselves on receiving the highest compensation possible for our customers.