Avoiding Truck Accidents In Inclement Weather
Despite its image of constant sunshine, Florida does have seasons and inclement weather at all points of the year, whether it is rain, snow, or somewhere in between. Florida also has large trucks on the road, rain or shine, and sometimes accidents do occur. If you are driving on Florida roads with trucks in bad weather, it is important to understand how they behave and what they are prone to do, and if you are injured by a semi-truck driver’s negligence, you need an experienced attorney to help you seek compensation.
Every Driver Has A Duty Of Care
While they do happen, the likelihood of truck accidents in bad weather is rare, for a multitude of reasons. Commercial truck drivers are trained in how to deal with poor weather, and how to drive defensively. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which governs commercial trucking companies’ operation and their drivers’ conduct, explicitly addresses how a driver should proceed in hazardous conditions. (“Hazardous conditions” are defined as any conditions that affect visibility, including those caused by “snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke”.)
Truck drivers must drive defensively, and even stop their vehicles if the conditions are that poor. However, automobile drivers also have a duty to drive with care. Generally, every motorist on the road has a duty to exercise reasonable care toward the other motorists, and a failure to do so can open you up to negligence claims. For example, if you drive too fast in pouring rain, and an accident occurs, you may be held liable, or at least partially liable, if the driver you struck was also negligent.
Bad Weather Is Not An Excuse
While bad weather can definitely contribute to the likelihood of an accident, it is not an excuse to get a defendant off the proverbial hook. A negligent defendant may try to blame the bad weather as the direct cause of the accident, but in reality, if the weather is that poor, the trucker should have known better and stopped their vehicle until it passed. It may wind up lowering their percentage of fault (the amount that they are held liable for, if a jury finds them liable), but it cannot exculpate a clearly negligent defendant.
It is possible that a jury could find that your accident would have occurred regardless of the defendant’s actions – most notably if they find you were partially responsible for your own injuries – but it is less likely than one might think. Besides, in Florida, a plaintiff who is held partially responsible for their own injuries may still recover in the amount of the defendant’s percentage of fault if the defendant is held to be liable. You cannot recover for your own percentage, but even if the defendant is found to be, say, 20 percent liable, you can in theory recover that much.
Call A Tampa Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Trucks can be intimidating to share the road with, and bad weather can make that worse. If the worst happens and you are involved in an accident, you need an experienced Tampa truck accident lawyer who can guide you and keep you informed throughout the lawsuit process. Contact the Rinaldo Law Group today for dedicated and compassionate representation. Call our offices today for a free consultation.