Birmingham Rain, Heavy Fog, and Intense Wind Truck Accident Attorneys
Did you get hurt in a truck accident that occurred in poor weather conditions? Did your injuries require medical treatment? If so, contact Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP, and we’ll assist you with your insurance claim or lawsuit.
The Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP personal injury law firm has the experience, knowledge, and resources to help our clients recover the maximum financial compensation they deserve. We’ll fight aggressively to seek justice and ensure the at-fault party is held accountable for their actions.
Rain, fog, and wind could all create a hazardous situation for motorists. It’s especially dangerous if you’re traveling near a large commercial vehicle. Trucks’ size and weight make them more susceptible to slipping, rolling over, and jackknifing, and they can cause devastating damage if they collide with smaller cars. If you get hurt because the trucker didn’t adjust their driving to maneuver through the adverse weather safely, they could be liable for your resulting expenses and losses.
Why Rain, Heavy Fog, and Intense Wind Are So Dangerous
Most people will slow down and adjust how they’re driving if there’s bad weather. They might drive slower, pay more attention to their surrounding environment, and obey all traffic laws. Unfortunately, other people continue to exhibit dangerous behavior despite the hazardous conditions outside.
Many drivers don’t think rain is dangerous. They believe snow and sleet have the potential to cause more accidents. However, rain leads to more crashes than other weather events. That’s because pavement typically becomes slippery when it gets wet. If someone drives too fast or takes a turn too quickly, their tires could slide, and they might lose control of their vehicle.
When a truck driver doesn’t take the necessary safety precautions while traveling in the rain, the impact could be traumatic. Since commercial vehicles have a higher center of gravity than other vehicles, they are more prone to rolling over. The trailer could also slide across the road and cause them to jackknife. Those types of crashes are dangerous and can result in severe injuries and fatalities.
Fog is one of those things most people don’t understand. Drivers will turn on their high beams when they’re driving in fog, thinking that will help. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. In fact, it could make the situation worse and cause someone to lose control of their car and veer off the road.
When someone is driving a large truck in heavy fog, it’s essential that they slow down and focus on the task at hand. This type of weather condition could lead to a head-on collision if the truck driver veers across the centerline. When there’s low visibility, it’s hard to tell where the lane ends and if there are oncoming cars.
Strong winds could knock a truck off balance and tip it over in front of other vehicles. It could also cause the driver to lose control or push their vehicle off the road. If the driver didn’t load their cargo properly, a gust of wind could shift items and create an uneven weight distribution. It could also result in cargo falling off the truck, creating a hazard for other motorists.
If a truck driver encounters intense winds, they must slow down to a safe speed and proceed with caution. If there are other cars around them, they should pay attention to what they’re doing so they don’t merge into another vehicle or oncoming traffic. If they fail to take control of their truck to ensure the safety of those around them, they could cause a great deal of damage.
How to Determine Fault When There’s Bad Weather
You might think the rain, fog, or wind was responsible for the crash; however, the truck driver’s actions could have contributed to the accident. If they were speeding, tailgating, or being reckless in another way, you could hold them liable for the harm they caused. Common behavior a truck driver could exhibit in poor weather that results in an accident includes:
- Failure to check blind spots
- Failure to turn on headlights
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Texting while driving or becoming distracted by something else
Even though the weather was a factor in the collision, you could pursue compensation from the truck driver if they behaved negligently. Under Alabama’s fault system, the party who causes a motor vehicle crash is automatically financially responsible for the injured victim’s losses and associated costs. Typically, the compensation would come from the truck driver’s liability insurance carrier.
All motorists are supposed to carry auto insurance with minimum liability limits that cover the accident victim’s bodily injury and property damage. In Alabama, the minimum limit is $25,000. However, commercial vehicles can cause more significant damage than a compact car. For that reason, truck drivers hold liability coverage of $750,000 for vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds. If they’re transporting hazardous materials, they require $5 million in liability insurance.
There’s crucial evidence you could collect to prove the truck driver was to blame for the crash. If you believe they weren’t driving safely for the adverse conditions, you must provide the insurance adjuster with adequate documentation.
For example, you could take photos of the crash scene showing the poor weather and evidence of the accident, such as skid marks, the position of the vehicles, and vehicle damage. You could also request a copy of the traffic crash report to learn the investigating officer’s determination of fault. Your lawyer will help you with the collection of evidence to ensure you have a strong case.
Damages You’re Entitled to After a Truck Accident
Damages refer to the total expenses and losses suffered after getting hurt in an accident. Economic damages compensate injured victims for their monetary losses, such as an ER bill. Non-economic damages are intangible losses that include things such as physical pain, which are difficult to calculate.
The economic and non-economic damages you might be able to recover in an insurance claim against the at-fault truck driver include:
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Emotional distress
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Out of pocket expenses
- Lost wages
- Disability or disfigurement
- Lost quality of life
Since placing value on non-economic damages is a challenge, an insurance adjuster will typically use some of the following factors to help determine a settlement number:
- Type and severity of the injury
- Impact on daily life, such as performing household chores and caring for family
- Available liability coverage on the truck driver’s policy
- Length of the recovery period
- If there was a full recovery or the injury led to an impairment or disability
- Duration of the inability to return to work
- Evidence proving the truck driver was at fault for the crash
- Documentation showing how the weather was that day
- Medically necessary treatment required in the future
Pursuing Damages in a Civil Lawsuit in Alabama
If you want to sue the truck driver for their reckless behavior, you have to follow a strict deadline. In Alabama, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for the recovery of injury damages is two years. That means you have two years from the truck accident date to pursue legal action.
There are two exceptions to this rule. Even if the statute passed, you could file a lawsuit if either of these circumstances exists:
- You were under 19 years old or declared insane at the time of the crash. The two-year deadline would only begin when you turn 19 years of age or become legally sane.
- The at-fault driver leaves the state temporarily. The clock would pause and begin again once they return. Their absence would not count towards the two-year statute.
If you choose to sue the truck driver, you could pursue more than just economic and non-economic damages like you would in an insurance claim. There’s a third type of damage called punitive damages. It doesn’t compensate someone for their losses after an accident. Instead, it aims to punish the individual responsible for causing harm and deter similar misconduct in the future.
Why Contributory Negligence Could Ruin Your Chance at Recovering Compensation
There’s a contributory negligence rule in Alabama that could prohibit you from pursuing financial compensation from the at-fault truck driver. Unlike other states that follow comparative negligence laws that will reduce the accident victim’s damages proportionate to their percentage of fault, this rule bars recovery if you’re even 1% to blame.
Let’s say a jury decides the truck driver was 90% at fault because they didn’t adjust their driving for the horrible weather conditions. After investigating the crash, they also determine that you share 10% blame because you were driving slightly above the speed limit. Even though you’re only partially responsible for the accident, you still won’t be entitled to a monetary award from an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Speak With a Dedicated Lawyer Now
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP will help you fight for justice and remain by your side through your entire case. We’ll provide support and guidance during this traumatic experience. We know how hard it can be to recover after a truck accident. You likely sustained severe injuries and require months of treatment. Over time, medical bills can add up and become a financial burden. You can depend on our Birmingham truck accident attorneys to work hard and ensure you receive the maximum compensation that covers your damages.
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident due to rain, heavy fog, or intense wind, contact Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP to schedule a free consultation.