Poor Weather Truck Accidents
Chicago Lawyers Helping Victims of Tractor-Trailer Collisions
The Federal Highway Administration’s Road Weather Management Program has reported that there are over a million accidents arising out of poor weather each year. These are accidents arising out of heavy wind, fog, snow, or rain. Rain is considered the most dangerous type of weather because it affects pavement friction and visibility. If you are injured or a loved one is killed in a poor weather truck accident, you should call the Chicago truck accident lawyers at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca.
Issues Related to Poor Weather Truck Accidents
Truck driver negligence is especially likely to result in accidents that produce serious bodily harm or death, due to the weight and size of commercial trucks, including tractor-trailers and cargo-carrying trucks. Trucks are heavy and take more effort and time to stop than passenger cars do. When poor weather has altered road conditions, a truck accident is more likely. A driver may not have enough time to stop after a hazard or obstacle is sighted. Or a driver may have time to brake, but there may not be sufficient friction on the road to actually bring the truck to a stop.
There may be truck accidents arising from poor weather that are nobody’s fault, but often accidents are caused by a truck driver’s failure to respond appropriately to poor weather. In most cases, to recover damages from a truck driver, your lawyer will need to establish that the truck driver failed to drive safely and thereby caused your injuries. Truck drivers who get distracted and do not pay attention to altered weather conditions may breach the duty to use reasonable care while driving. Similarly, a truck driver who speeds during a rainstorm may be violating the duty to use reasonable care. For another example, a truck driver who follows too closely may be violating the duty to use reasonable care in a snowstorm.
A truck driver’s employer may be held vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence in the course and scope of employment. Vicarious liability is a form of indirect liability that allows you to collect damages from the truck driver’s employer if you prove that the driver’s negligence occurred while he was driving for the benefit of the employer. If a truck driver gets into a poor weather truck accident while running a personal errand on his lunch break, you would not be able to hold the truck driver’s employer vicariously liable.
You can also hold a trucking company directly liable for its own negligence in hiring, training, or supervising a truck driver. Sometimes a poor weather accident is a result of a driver not being trained in how to respond to rain or snow on the road. When a trucking company fails to use reasonable care in hiring, training, or supervising a driver, and this failure causes an accident, the trucking company may be directly liable for the damages.
It is important to retain an experienced lawyer who can hire the appropriate experts. Sometimes it is not totally clear why an accident happened, or it seems likely that a perfect storm of contributing factors created the accident. For example, the manufacturer of the truck’s brakes may have contributed to an accident if the brakes were defective. The manufacturer may be strictly liable. Other parties that may bear responsibility include a third-party loader that overloaded the cargo or distributed the cargo inappropriately, as well as a repair shop.
Discuss Your Options with a Knowledgeable Chicago Attorney
If you were injured in a poor weather truck accident in Chicago, you should consult a tenacious personal injury attorney who has experience in truck accident lawsuits. These cases can be more challenging than other types of personal injury lawsuits, not least because of the aggressive defenses often mounted by trucking insurers in the face of accident victims’ claims. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent accident victims in Quincy, Rockford, Champaign, Springfield, and Aurora, as well as other areas of Adams, Winnebago, Champaign, Sangamon, Kane, and Cook Counties. Call us at 312-724-5846 for a free consultation.