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Evansville Unsafe Weather Conditions Attorneys
Here in Indiana, we see our fair share of inclement weather, from heavy snowstorms to freezing rain, and just about everything in between. An Indiana Crash Facts report found that 11 percent of all crashes happened during the month of January, a month notorious for heavy falling snow and iced-over roads.
Driving in inclement weather can be downright dangerous. When truckers get behind the wheel, they may feel pressure to push the limits of good judgment in order to stay on schedule. However, bad weather and the rush to get somewhere can be a deadly combination.
Truck drivers are professional drivers. Knowing when to drive and how to safely operate their truck in poor conditions are parts of their job. When they drive recklessly in inclement weather, it can lead to a chain of events that results in a catastrophic accident.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an accident with a truck in less than favorable weather conditions, you should consult with an attorney. Insurers will try to pay out the least amount possible, and they will take advantage of you. Contact the experienced injury team at Chapman Injury Lawyers before you sign away your rights. We can help you get the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, property loss, and pain and suffering. Call us at (812) 461-6345 for a free consultation.
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How Does Weather Impact Truck Driving?
We know just by looking at them that trucks are very different from cars, but unless you have been behind the wheel of one, it is hard to fathom the profound differences in the way a truck handles compared to a car.
Large trucks can sometimes weigh in excess of 80,000-pounds depending on the type of cargo they are transporting. The distribution of that weight can significantly impact the way in which a truck responds to certain conditions, even on the best days. Now imagine having to maneuver that large, heavy, intricate piece of machinery on roads slick with ice, in fog thick as a blanket, or in hard pelting rain that makes seeing five feet in front of you almost impossible.
There is a reason that truck drivers must receive special training and certifications before getting behind the wheel of a big rig. Driving a truck can be dangerous work, even more so when the weather turns bad. The US. Department of Transportation helps outline how poor weather conditions affect a trucker’s ability to control their vehicle:
Inclement weather conditions make operating a truck even more dangerous. However, it is still ultimately the truck driver’s responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and adjust their actions appropriately.
According to numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017, 4,761 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks.
Unfortunately, according to the same data, Indiana ranks as one of the top 10 states where trucks are involved in fatal accidents. Truck drivers have a responsibility to themselves and everyone else on the road to operate their vehicles in a safe manner.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident with a truck during poor weather conditions, your first thought may be to put the blame squarely on Mother Nature. While Mother Nature may have had a hand to play in the accident, truck drivers are still responsible for safely operating their vehicles. The driver can be held accountable if their actions or behavior contributed to causing the accident. Truck driving can be complex, involving a series of actions and responses that may impact the outcome of a situation. A driver’s response to a weather phenomenon may be more to blame than the weather condition itself.
The weather isn’t the only factor that may come into play following an accident, either. A trucking company may also be liable if they were negligent in hiring the driver or did not make sure the driver was properly trained. A cargo loading company may shoulder part of the blame if they improperly loaded the vehicle, and that played a part in the driver not being able to safely operate the vehicle in bad weather. There is any number of possibilities that may have contributed to your accident.
The legal team at Chapman Injury Lawyers has the experience to track down the evidence, find the facts, and hold responsible those that had a hand in your accident. The trucking company and its huge team of lawyers and insurers are not on your side. No one wants to admit fault for an accident, but in the case of trucking companies, that is especially true. They may try to trick or intimidate you into accepting less than what you deserve.
Truck drivers may feel pressure to forge ahead even when bad weather strikes. They run on tight deadlines, and stopping, even for a short while, may put them behind schedule. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a provision that specifically outlines how truck drivers must respond during any type of hazardous condition. The law states that drivers are required to use sound judgment and caution when traveling during poor conditions such as rain, snow, fog, and wind.
It also spells out how truck drivers are required to reduce their speed, use their lights, and be prepared to stop suddenly, allowing a longer stopping distance to account for the conditions. By ignoring these rules and causing an accident, the driver is opening themselves up to legal liability.
What is important for both drivers and truck drivers to note is that they do have a choice. Truck drivers don’t have to venture out and put themselves or others at risk during severe weather events. The Surface Transportation Act or STAA does protect truck drivers who refuse to operate their vehicle in unsafe conditions. A trucking company can be held liable for firing a driver that is looking out for their safety and the safety of others if weather conditions are dangerous and severe. Drivers don’t have to risk the lives of others for the sake of a deadline.
Large, heavy trucks can cause massive and devastating injuries. You could be forced to deal with medical bills now, and well into the future. Chances are the insurance company’s lowball offer won’t be enough to compensate you for your medical bills, time away from work, property damage, and time away from your family. Know your rights, call Chapman Injury Lawyers to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney. You need someone you can trust to protect your rights and make sure you aren’t being taken advantage of.
We know you are shaken and nervous about what to do next. Now is not the time to go it alone, set up a free consultation today by calling (812) 426-0600. We want to help you get the compensation you need to rebuild your life. You deserve to have someone looking out for you.
Don’t face this alone.
NEIL CHAPMAN, LAWYER