Monsoon season is upon us once again. It's the season that not only, quite heavily, rains on our parade but also creates dangerous situations on the road. One such danger is the risk of hydroplaning. In this article, we'll discuss liability after an accident caused by hydroplaning in a monsoon and how to stay as safe as possible on the road during this wet season.
If you've been in a car accident, give our car accident attorneys a call or text to set up a free consultation and case review. You can reach us at 602-345-1818 in Arizona or 505-386-2807 in New Mexico. Alternatively, you may fill out our convenient and secure online form to request your free consultation.
What Is Hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning refers to the skidding or sliding of a vehicle on a slick, wet surface. This typically happens at the beginning of a rainfall as the rainwater mixes with the oil and other residues on the road making road conditions slippery. When a car hydroplanes, essentially, the water creates a barrier between the tires and the road, making it difficult to steer, brake, and control.
When a vehicle hydroplanes, the driver may feel a sudden jolt and lose control of the vehicle. Depending on the amount of water on the road and the condition of the tires, it may take a while for the driver to regain control of the car.
Who's Liable in a Car Accident Involving Hydroplaning?
Typically, the at-fault driver will be liable for the accident. Everyone behind the wheel of a vehicle has a duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians. The duty of care mandates that all drivers operate their vehicles in a way that would reasonably avoid causing injuries and damage to others. When that duty is breached, negligence has occurred. The negligent party will be at fault, thus liable for the injuries and damages his or her negligence caused.
In an accident caused by hydroplaning, a number of factors will be considered to determine the cause of the accident. For example, was the party driving the hydroplaning vehicle speeding? Did he or she fail to maintain the vehicle's tires? These two things could certainly be deemed negligent, making the driver liable for damages caused by the accident.
Can the Driver Blame the Weather and Get off the Hook?
Can a driver avoid liability by blaming the weather and denying that his or her actions caused the accident? While monsoons and other forms of bad weather can create dangerous conditions that make car accidents more likely, it is a driver's duty to drive responsibly and safely during poor weather conditions. In monsoon conditions, it's reasonable that a driver would choose to stay off the road altogether, pull over, or slow down to minimize the risk of an accident. If the driver did nothing to avoid an accident, it's likely he or she acted negligently, effectively causing the accident.
In sum, liability in a monsoon will be determined the same way liability is determined in all car accidents. Weather is unlikely to get you off the hook for damages if you were negligent.
Other Potentially Liable Parties
It could be possible that the driver who hydroplaned didn't act negligently. Other parties may be liable for the hydroplaning incident, depending on the facts of the case. Some such parties may include:
- The owner of the car - The party driving the car is not always the owner. Sometimes the owner has neglected vital car maintenance, which can lead to a car accident during a monsoon. Similarly, if the car is a rental, the rental company may be at fault.
- Tire manufacturers - A manufacturing defect could have caused the car to hydroplane. In this case, the manufacturer may be held liable for the damages caused by the accident.
- Government, state, or municipal entities - The cause of the hydroplaning may have nothing to do with the vehicle or driver involved. Improper maintenance or construction, design flaws, or poor gutter upkeep may lead to excessive water holding on the road, which increases the risk of hydroplaning.
- A mechanic or tire replacement company - If tires were replaced with faulty or unsafe equipment or improperly put on, the mechanic or replacement company may be held liable for the incident.
It's important to consult an experienced car accident lawyer if you've been in an accident that happened as a result of hydroplaning. Your lawyer will help you determine who the appropriate liable party is and guide you through the next steps based on the specific facts of your case.
How to Avoid Liability During Monsoon Season
Don't end up in a situation where you're trying to prove that you weren't liable for a car accident. The key is to be vigilant in taking action to minimize your risks, especially during monsoon season. You'll want to keep up your car maintenance to ensure your car and tires are functioning properly. This includes regularly checking your tire tread, vehicle lights, brakes, and steering.
Additionally, if you don't have to drive during bad weather, stay home. Of course, this isn't always possible. When you have to drive during undesirable conditions, knowing what to do in bad weather may help you avoid car accidents. To avoid hydroplaning to the best of your ability, always keep a good distance between your vehicle and other vehicles. This can decrease the chances of a collision in the case you do hydroplane. If you begin to hydroplane, do not slam on the brakes, as this will only exacerbate the situation, causing you to further lose control of the vehicle. Instead, ease your foot off the accelerator and continue to control your steering the best you can.
Call a Car Accident Attorney to Help
If you've been in an accident during a monsoon or other poor weather conditions, we're here to help you. Know that even if you're at fault for the accident, you may still be eligible for financial compensation depending on the facts of your case. For a free consultation, call or text 602-345-1818 to speak with our Arizona car accident lawyers. Call or text 505-386-2807 to speak with our New Mexico car accident lawyers. Alternatively, you may fill out our convenient and secure online form.
The content on this website is for general information purposes only. For legal advice regarding your specific situation, consult a knowledgeable lawyer at Impact Legal.
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