Louisville’s residents usually experience cold and rainy weather with occasional snow from December through March. These weather conditions can significantly impact a driver’s visibility and may contribute to a truck accident. Recent data from the Kentucky State Police reveal nearly 9000 truck accidents, including 106 fatal collisions, occur annually across the state.
Due to their massive weight and size, and the force they exert, the injuries resulting from a Louisville truck accident are often far more severe than those resulting from other types of motor vehicle accidents. These injuries result in medical expenses, lost wages, and diminished earning potential, which can easily throw your finances into disarray.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Louisville truck accident, lawyers from Sam Aguiar Law will help you file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for the accident. We are committed to helping you recover the compensation you need and deserve and will fight aggressively on your behalf at every stage of the claims process. Contact our lawyers today to discuss your case.
Adverse Weather Conditions That Cause Truck Accidents in Louisville
Interstate truck drivers experience all kinds of weather as they crisscross the country delivering the much-needed supplies that keep the economy running. Bad weather conditions can impact a driver’s ability to see the road ahead and to control their rig. The most common adverse weather conditions that cause truck accidents in Louisville include the following:
- Fog: Thick fog can significantly reduce visibility to less than five feet. The US Department of Transportation estimates that over 38,000 motor vehicle accidents occur annually due to fog.
- High Winds: Strong and high winds on Louisville highways are particularly hazardous for large trucks. Truck compartments lack aerodynamic features, and strong winds can easily cause a truck to roll over or jack knife on the road.
- Rain: Heavy rain usually reduces driver visibility and increases the risks of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is a dangerous driving condition that causes a vehicle’s tires to lose traction with the road.
- Snow and Ice: Heavy weight on snowy or icy roads can spell disaster for a large truck. Even in good weather conditions a truck at highway speed needs at least 200 yards of safe stopping distance. On snowy and icy roads, a truck requires a much longer safe stopping distance, which is not always available when something goes wrong.
Federal Regulations for Trucks in Hazardous Weather Conditions
Truck drivers owe a duty of care when operating their vehicles on Louisville highways and roads. Federal regulations require drivers to be responsible for the safe operation of their trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) Section 392.14 outlines the responsibilities truck drivers have when operating their vehicles in hazardous weather conditions:
- Drivers must exercise extreme caution when operating a commercial motor vehicle in hazardous conditions like ice, sleet, snow, mist, dust, smoke, and rain.
- Drivers should reduce their speed whenever adverse weather conditions exist on the road.
- Where the conditions are extremely dangerous, drivers should pull off the road and continue the journey only when the weather conditions are safe.
- Drivers should ensure there is adequate distance between the truck and other vehicles to allow for longer stopping distances.
- Whenever visibility is low, drivers should use their lights to improve visibility and allow other motorists to see the truck.
- Drivers must operate their trailers defensively and use sound judgment when pulling off the road.
- Drivers who ignore safe driving procedures during bad weather can be held financially liable for losses sustained in a resulting truck accident.
Driver Responsibilities in Bad and Dangerous Weather Conditions
The key to safe wintertime driving is adequate preparation. Among other things, truck drivers have a responsibility to do the following before driving their rigs in adverse weather conditions:
- Inspect the vehicle for mechanical or safety issues and perform preventative maintenance.
- Check the battery, tire tread, windshield wipers, and antifreeze level.
- Equip the truck with vital gear such as a flashlight, jumper cables, flares, and a first aid kit.
- Ensure that their cargo is loaded properly.
- Avoid driving when fatigued, ill, or impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Determining Liability for a Weather-Related Truck Accident
Liability is a critical factor in every truck accident claim in Louisville. To succeed, you and your attorney will need to prove that the truck driver or the company they work for was at fault for the accident.
Generally, truck drivers have a duty of care to drive responsibly and do whatever they can to protect others from harm during adverse road conditions. Depending on the type of weather involved, a truck driver may be guilty of breaching this duty of care if they made any of the following mistakes:
- Failed to use their windshield wipers
- Drove while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Failed to turn on their headlights, fog lights, etc.
- Drove on worn-out tires, bald tires, or tires that were not ideal for the specific weather conditions
- Drove while fatigued or drowsy
- Engaged in distracted driving
- Drove too fast for the weather conditions
- Failed to observe any of the federal regulations outlined in FMCSR Section 392.14.
Determining liability for a weather-related truck accident is often complicated and will often require the skill of an experienced personal injury lawyer, along with the testimony of accident reconstruction and other experts. At Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers, our truck accident lawyers in Louisville have access to expert witnesses and the resources needed to prove that your truck accident was the result of negligence on the part of the truck driver, trucking company, and/or others.
When Weather Means No One Is at Fault
A possible defense to a weather-related truck accident is the “Act of God” defense. This is an accident caused by a natural event that could not be prevented by reasonable foresight or care. For example, if a flash flood or tornado suddenly picked up or pushed a truck and hurled it into the lane of an oncoming vehicle, it is likely that a judge or jury will find that the defendant cannot be held liable for the accident because the circumstances were beyond their control. This defense is rare, but possible in cases involving the most extreme weather conditions.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Louisville Today
Proving liability for a weather-related truck accident can be complicated and often requires the skill of an experienced truck accident lawyer. If you were injured in a truck accident, an experienced Louisville truck accident lawyer from Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers, can make a notable difference in the outcome of your case. We will prove the other driver’s liability and fight for you, so you receive adequate compensation for your losses.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers are available 24/7. If you can’t come to us, we’ll come to you. Be assured we will take care of the heavy work while you heal.