Attorneys for Sacramento Truck Accidents Due to Environmental Factors or Adverse Weather Conditions
Did adverse weather or environmental conditions contribute to a truck accident? Did you suffer injuries requiring medical treatment in that accident? If so, you might be entitled to compensation from the negligent truck driver or trucking company. The Sacramento truck accident attorneys of Tiemann Law Firm can represent you in your case and help you hold the at-fault party liable for the harm they caused.
Poor weather is a common factor in motor vehicle accidents. Things like strong winds and heavy rain create hazardous conditions for drivers. If someone doesn’t adjust their speed or how they’re operating their vehicle, they could be unable to safely maneuver around other traffic.
Commercial trucks are susceptible to rolling over, jackknifing, or skidding across the pavement. If the road is slippery, the truck driver should slow down and pay close attention to the road ahead. If they don’t, they could crash into another vehicle. Failure to adapt to hazardous weather conditions is reckless behavior that puts other people at risk of injury or death.
Call Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 today to learn more about how we can help after a truck accident involving adverse weather conditions or environmental factors.
Common Types of Environmental Factors/Adverse Weather Conditions
Most people are cautious when they encounter dangerous weather while driving. They might slow down or avoid certain distractions, such as texting or conversations with their passengers. However, some people don’t adjust how they drive because they don’t realize the dangers adverse weather or dangerous environmental factors create for drivers.
Truck drivers are under immense pressure to transport goods and products to their destinations on time. Most get paid by the mile, causing many to speed or drive recklessly to make more money. Unfortunately, those behaviors could result in an accident. The truck driver could lose control of their vehicle and crash into a small car, injuring the occupants.
Some of the most common weather conditions that contribute to truck accidents are:
- Wind – Strong wind can push vehicles all over the road, even a large and heavy tractor-trailer. Commercial trucks can jackknife or roll over if the driver doesn’t have complete control of the rig.
- Fog – Fog reduces visibility on the road. If the trucker can’t see what’s going on in front of them, they likely won’t see a stopped car ahead or any other kind of hazard. They can’t avoid colliding with another vehicle when they don’t proceed slowly and carefully.
- Storms – Thunderstorms produce lightning and thunder that could startle a driver. That could cause them to swerve or unintentionally slam on their brakes. The sudden shift in the vehicle’s momentum could cause the driver to lose control and crash into a car in another lane.
- Rain – Vehicles can hydroplane during heavy rainfall. Flooding could also occur, making it more challenging for vehicles to navigate the roadways. Accidents are common in heavy rain because many drivers don’t understand the dangers even minimal water on the road could create.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the trucking industry. They provide guidelines all truck drivers should follow if they encounter adverse weather conditions or environmental factors.
- Use sound judgment – Truckers should proceed with caution when operating a commercial truck. Even if they have the experience and skills to navigate the worst weather possible, it might be necessary to pull off the road and wait for conditions to improve.
- Slow down – Reducing the speed of the truck could prevent jackknifing or hydroplaning. This step is imperative in particularly dangerous weather, such as downpours and strong winds.
- Use headlights – Reduced visibility creates challenges for all drivers. Truck drivers are responsible for navigating an 80,000-pound truck around much smaller cars. The trucker should always turn on their lights to see other motorists and so other drivers can see them.
- Prepare for stops – Commercial trucks require a greater stopping distance than passenger vehicles. Truck drivers should maintain an appropriate amount of space between themselves and anyone they’re driving behind. That way, if they need to brake suddenly, they can avoid colliding with the back of another vehicle.
If you got hurt in a truck accident during adverse weather conditions and the driver violated any of these regulations or engaged in otherwise reckless behavior, you could hold them liable. Tiemann Law Firm can help you pursue the maximum compensation you need to cover your medical bills, prescriptions, and other costs incurred because of the accident. You should not be responsible for any of these expenses when someone else was at fault for the crash.
Determining Who’s Liable for a Truck Accident Involving Environmental Factors/Adverse Weather Conditions
Driver error can increase the risk of a truck accident during dangerous weather. A truck driver’s actions could cause them to lose control of their vehicle, preventing them from avoiding obstacles they might encounter. The most common errors are:
- Taking a turn too fast
- Failing to check blind spots
- Disobeying traffic laws
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
California follows a fault system when it comes to liability following a motor vehicle accident. If there’s proof that the truck driver or their employer was at fault for your injuries, they should be financially responsible for your losses. You could file a claim with their insurance company to cover your expenses.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires trucking companies to purchase liability insurance. The minimum coverage amounts required by federal law are:
- $300,000 – Trucks weighing less than 10,001 pounds and carrying non-hazardous cargo
- $750,000 – Trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds and transporting non-hazardous materials
- $1 million – Oil and hazardous freight
If you want to file an insurance claim, you must have sufficient evidence of the truck driver’s misconduct to justify your claim. At Tiemann Law Firm, our legal team has over two decades of experience representing accident victims in cases like this.
You might think negotiating with the insurance company will be easy, but you could end up with less compensation than you need without the help of a lawyer. That’s because insurance companies often look for reasons to deny someone’s claim so they can save money. When you hire us, we will protect your rights and fight for the maximum financial award available.
Compensation You Could Recover in an Insurance Claim or Lawsuit
Large trucks can cause debilitating injuries to the drivers and passengers in other vehicles they collide with. You might need physical therapy, surgery, or other expensive treatments to heal. These costs can add up and lead to significant debt. Many people can’t afford the out-of-pocket expenses that come with treating injuries after a truck accident. You shouldn’t have to worry about paying for anything when the truck driver’s actions caused your injuries.
An insurance settlement or favorable jury verdict could compensate you for your past and future losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
Tiemann Law Firm can review the losses you suffered to determine the value of your case. Calculating an appropriate number can be challenging, especially because the insurance company might have a different opinion about what your case is worth. We will use all contributing factors we can find to show the number we come up with is how much you deserve. Some of these factors might include:
- The type of injury and how severe it is
- The liability coverage on the trucking company’s policy
- Statements made by eyewitnesses to the crash
- The duration of the recovery period
- The total expenses resulting from the injury
- The estimated cost of future treatment needed
- Amount of time spent away from work to heal
- The evidence obtained during the investigation proving what happened
- Emotional trauma you experienced from the accident
We will file the insurance claim on your behalf and communicate directly with the insurance adjuster, so you don’t have to. We take care of all the legal aspects of our client’s case. You won’t be responsible for anything except recovering from your injuries. We always fight for accident victims, so they receive the maximum compensation necessary to move forward with their lives.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the Truck Driver
There’s a statute of limitations you have to adhere to if you want to file a lawsuit in California. This is a strict timeframe, and if you miss it, you could lose your right to pursue compensation from the at-fault party in court. The statute of limitations is two years. That means you have two years from the accident date to sue the truck driver or trucking company.
After a truck accident, be sure you don’t admit any amount of fault. Even if you believe your actions partially contributed, it would be best to keep that information to yourself. California uses pure comparative negligence when determining the amount of compensation each party involved in an accident deserves. If the jury assigns you partial fault for the accident to you, the final award you’re allowed to receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, let’s say you incurred $100,000 in losses from the crash. Under normal circumstances, you could seek $100,000 in compensation to cover everything. However, if the jury determines you were 20% at fault for your injuries, you would only be entitled to a maximum of $80,000.
Tiemann Law Firm has been helping accident victims recover from their injuries since 1998. We know the devastation of an accident involving a commercial truck. The injuries you sustained were probably severe and may require many months of painful treatment. You should not have to suffer the consequences of another person’s actions. We can represent you in your case and seek the justice you deserve.
Call Tiemann Law Firm for your free consultation at (916) 999-9000 if you sustained injuries in a truck accident involving adverse weather or environmental factors.