Truck accidents and bad weather go hand in hand. That doesn’t mean you can’t pursue compensation for injuries from a weather-related truck accident, though. In fact, such incidents are not just unfortunate coincidences; they often involve negligence and lapses in safety protocols. From the truck driver to the trucking company, there are multiple parties whose actions or inactions can contribute to these accidents, turning a regular journey into a life-altering event.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a truck accident, get in touch with the legal team at Mi Abogado today.
How Weather Contributes to Truck Accidents
Adverse weather conditions increase the risk of truck accidents – including those caused by the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company. These circumstances might include:
- Poor visibility due to heavy rain or fog can impair a truck driver’s ability to react to sudden changes on the road.
- High winds can cause trailers to sway or even tip over, especially on highways with high-speed limits.
- Icy or slick roads can lead to skidding or the loss of vehicle control, making it challenging for even experienced drivers to manage heavy trucks safely.
What are truck drivers required to do in bad weather?
Trucking industry standards mandate that drivers exercise extreme caution and adjust their driving behavior according to weather conditions. These precautions may include:
- Reducing speed
- Increasing following distances
- Pulling over until conditions improve
- Ensuring windshield wipers, defrosters, and headlights are functioning properly
- Checking tire tread and inflation
- Securing tarps and cargo
- Avoiding unnecessary lane changes
- Allowing extra room for turns and stopping distance
- Staying alert and minimizing distractions
However, due to pressures to meet delivery deadlines or the misjudgment of weather severity, these best practices are sometimes ignored. When this happens, the risk of weather-related truck accidents escalates, potentially leading to serious injury or loss of life.
Weather Related Accidents & the Law
After a truck accident caused by weather, you may be able to claim negligence to get compensation. Negligence means someone did not take reasonable care and harmed someone else as a result. For example, the truck driver may be negligent if they did not adjust their driving for weather conditions. Or the trucking company could also be negligent if they failed to properly train drivers for bad weather or ensure the truck could handle it.
That said, it can be hard to prove negligence – especially if weather issues make things more complicated. Useful evidence like photos, witness statements, police reports, and truck maintenance history can support a negligence claim.
A skilled personal injury lawyer can be extremely valuable to help you handle these legal procedures, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for you in court if necessary.
Steps to Take Following a Weather-Related Truck Accident
1) Ensure Safety at the Accident Scene
Immediately following a weather-related truck accident, ensuring the safety of all parties involved should be the first priority. If possible and safe to do so, move the vehicle out of traffic to a secure location. Then, check on all passengers and other drivers involved. Remember that in the event of serious injuries, it’s crucial not to move the injured persons unless necessary for safety reasons. It’s also essential to avoid leaving the scene of the accident until authorities arrive.
2) Seek Medical Attention
The second crucial step is to seek medical attention, regardless of the perceived severity of the injuries. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately but could lead to serious health complications later. A thorough medical examination can provide a comprehensive understanding of any injuries sustained and will also serve as official documentation of injuries, which could be vital in subsequent legal proceedings.
3) Notify Law Enforcement
Also, it’s important to notify law enforcement about the accident. A detailed police report can serve as a critical piece of evidence when filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
4) Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Once immediate safety and health concerns have been addressed, contacting a lawyer should be your next step. Even if liability may appear clear in a weather-related truck accident, insurance companies often have teams of lawyers working to minimize their financial responsibility. An attorney can help protect your rights and work towards getting fair compensation.
Seeking Help After a Truck Accident
Weather-related truck accidents can be life-altering events, leaving victims to navigate complicated legal proceedings while recovering from their injuries. It’s essential not to face these challenges alone. At Mi Abogado, we have the experience and skills necessary to guide you through the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been a victim of a weather-related truck accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for support and legal assistance.