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Tractor-Trailer Accidents In Inclement Weather


While snow might be a rare occurrence in Florida, this does not mean that inclement weather does not happen. From rain to heat to hurricanes, bad weather can profoundly affect Florida’s roads and cause an uptick in crashes. Large vehicles like tractor-trailers are more likely to be affected by bad weather for a variety of reasons – if you have been injured in a crash with a tractor-trailer, you can seek damages from the driver and/or their employer if you believe that negligence played a role.

Not Just For Cold Weather

Statistics reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) estimate that there are roughly 5.8 million vehicle crashes per year, and approximately 21 percent of them involved some kind of hazardous weather. These weather-related crashes were responsible for around 16 percent of vehicular deaths per year – a slightly lower share than would be proportional, but still significant. The most common type of weather-related fatality was heat, but in terms of road accidents specifically, wet pavement and rain impacting visibility were the two most commonly reported events.

Florida sees very little cold weather, but even without snow or ice, the state does experience most of the types of weather that are most likely to cause tractor-trailer accidents. For example, heavy rains or thunderstorms cause increased stopping time (which can be particularly important to a tractor-trailer, given how long it takes one to come to a stop even on dry pavement). Extreme heat can cause tire blowouts or other vehicle malfunctions. A tractor-trailer can crash or cause others to crash in a short span of time if a sudden weather-related problem happens.

Seeking Compensation

Accident cases involving tractor-trailers can run the gamut from easy and straightforward to long and complex. Florida is a no-fault state in terms of auto insurance, meaning that people who sustain minor injuries are required to seek compensation via their insurance policies – only those who experience “significant and permanent” injuries may file suit against an allegedly negligent driver. If they can sue, they must establish that the driver (or their employer) breached the duty of care that every road user owes to every other, and that the breach was the direct cause of their injuries, which can be difficult – though not impossible.

Keep in mind that unlike in cases involving tractor-trailer accidents in good weather, a defendant in a case involving inclement weather may be able to assert what is known as the “act of God” or “force majeure” defense. While Florida statutes do not explicitly define an “act of God,” it is sometimes argued in this type of case that an accident falls under this umbrella because it was unforeseeable and extraordinary, and/or that no one could have seen it coming or planned appropriately. If there is any indication that a driver should have been able to reasonably foresee an accident – for example, in cases where wet pavement or fog was present – this defense may fail, but sometimes it will be effective.

Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney

Being involved in a tractor-trailer accident can be terrifying, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed in determining how to seek damages for what you have been through. A Tampa tractor-trailer accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can offer compassionate and knowledgeable representation – call us today for a free consultation.



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