Youâ€™re likely already aware that when bad weather hits Georgia, accidents happen. High winds, heavy rains and even hurricane threats can easily turn a familiar route into a hostile and possible life-threatening ordeal. Itâ€™s vital for you to do your part to avoid bad weather trucking accidents.
Yet, no matter how prepared you are, or think you are, for unfriendly road conditions, collisions involving a big rig is likely to result in serious injuries, or even death.
As Georgiaâ€™s trucking law experts, we have worked with victims or victimsâ€™ 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 is the primary cause of the wreck, it is possible that you may be entitled to financial compensation for the damage caused to you and your vehicle.
If youâ€™ve sustained injuries or financial losses due to a bad weather trucking accident, the attorneys at Fried Rogers Goldberg want to work with you. We have the skills and determination to fight for you â€“ over half of our cases are dedicated to semi-truck accident victims. We offer a no-cost, no obligation consultation. Contact us at (404) 591-1800.
Read more to learn how you can defend yourself and better understand your claims related to bad-weather trucking collisions.
Liability While Driving DuringÂ by Bad Weather
Some may assume that a bad weather trucking accident has just one â€śat faultâ€ť 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, inclementÂ 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. Still, drivers of passenger vehicles should be aware that big-rig operators are not among those who have the option of staying home or rerouting their course during poorÂ weather. Consequently, if you are on the road when a storm is present, thereâ€™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 InclementÂ Weather to Avoid
While a commercial semi truck may look immovable, bad weather conditions are especially dangerous for semi-trucks. The fact is that its 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 direction causes a chain reaction â€“ the change in height pulls the vehicle side to the ground.
Weather obstacles that may cause a trucking accident to take place can include:
The top-heavy structure makes a truckâ€™s chance of tipping over on the road more likely during high winds. The stronger and more unpredictable the wind, the greater the truckâ€™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 truckâ€™s traction. For a large truck traveling at a high rate of speed, this lack of traction makes steering and braking all but useless. Again, if you come across a semi-truck or big rig driver 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 lightening 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.
Reduced visibility can cause drivers to veer out of their lanes. Drivers who do not properly use headlights and taillights effectively, or have non-functioning equipment, may cause risk to fellow drivers.
Despite work schedule and deadlines, it is important for truck drivers to be mindful of public safety, and perform the following when necessary: reduce speed, exercise extreme caution and even pull over during hazardous conditions.
What the Law Says
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) state unequivocally that â€ś[e]xtreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditionsâ€ť exist. And Article Â§ 392.14 of the FMCSR states that extreme caution must be used in any situation where â€śsnow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust or smoke adversely affect visibility or traction.â€ť
Federal regulations are very clear that â€śthe driverâ€ť 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, doesnâ€™t mean that it is always followed.
So who or what is to blame for a collision during poorÂ weather? Ultimately, there are limitless 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. Establishing negligence is vitally important for your case. Â Visit this page to learn more about Proving Negligence in Trucking Accident.
What to Do If Involved in an Accident Due to Poor Weather
Hire an attorney immediately. 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 Georgiaâ€™s premier trucking attorneys to fight for your rights. Our attorneys know that collisions involving a big rig is likely to result in serious injuries that may render you unable to work for weeks or months afterward. Fried Rogers Goldberg 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 over half of its caseload to trucking accidents, and will take the burden of filing your claim off your shoulders. The attorneys at Fried Rogers Goldberg will seek to establish truck driver negligence or trucking company negligence to prove liability, and get you maximum compensation. Call us today at (404) 591-1800 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation about your accident. We are here to help, and look forward to hearing from you.