Tractor-Trailer Accidents Happen More Often In Bad Weather
Regardless of the time of year, tractor-trailers are a common sight on Florida’s roads, from Pensacola to the Keys. An accident involving a tractor-trailer is disproportionately more likely to cause injuries or fatalities than a crash involving two passenger cars – but in addition to factors like driver negligence, tractor-trailers are also more prone to be involved in accidents when bad weather is a factor. If this has happened to you, determining liability can be difficult, but by no means impossible.
Increases Odds Of Injury & Fatality
When discussing bad-weather car accidents, the average person tends to think of snow and ice being the primary culprits. However, statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation show that rain is much more likely to be a factor, particularly in more tropical and sub-tropical climates like Florida’s. Roughly 21 percent of all road accidents in the U.S. list bad weather as a factor, and of those, rain played a role in 46 percent of all weather-related crashes.
Rain and wet pavement can play a particularly dangerous role in tractor-trailer accidents, because of the overall size of the vehicles involved. For example, one of the more common types of tractor-trailer crashes is the jackknife accident, where the cab and the trailer of a truck stop working in concert – very often, the trailer slides at a right angle to the cab, and wet pavement can only increase the speeds at which this happens. Vulnerable vehicles in the way are sideswiped.
Who Is Liable?
If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer in bad weather, you may be unsure as to how to proceed – after all, the weather is not a factor over which a person can be sued. That said, this does not mean that you may not file suit against the driver (and their employer, if appropriate in your situation), as you might normally. The weather may be a factor for the court in determining liability, but you still have the right to file suit against the actor you believe was the most responsible.
In some cases, though, you may be able to hold someone liable for factors due to bad weather. In rare cases, the weather may have made the roads more dangerous – for example, if a storm allows potholes to form that are not well marked – and the agency who maintains the roads may have a case to answer. If this is a factor in your case, be advised that most state agencies are immune to suit except in very specific circumstances, due to a concept called sovereign immunity – but those specific circumstances do occur.
Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
If you have been in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, and the weather was bad at the time, know that you still have the right to try and hold the driver accountable even if the weather may have played a role. Contacting a knowledgeable Tampa tractor-trailer accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help you clear the air about how best to proceed from here. Call our office today for a free consultation.