Determining Liability for Injuries in Hydroplaning Accidents

Wet weather conditions can create the risk of a serious vehicle accident, even if a driver takes all reasonable safety precautions to avoid hydroplaning. However, compensation may be available to assist with your accident-related expenses. Hydroplaning accidents

What Is Hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning occurs when a driver loses control of a vehicle due to wet roads and the vehicle's tires encounter more water than they can safely scatter. Water pressure in the front of the wheel forces water under the tire and creates a thin film that separates the tire from the road itself. This loss of traction makes it impossible to steer, brake, or otherwise control the vehicle.

When a vehicle starts to hydroplane, drag pulls on one side and causes the tires on the opposite side to slow down. This forces the vehicle in the direction of the slower side, creating a spinning effect that often results in collisions with other motorists, signs, guardrails, trees, or any object near the side of the road.

Hydroplaning can occur whenever roads are wet, and statistics indicate drivers traveling over 35 mph have the highest risk of losing control of their vehicles.

How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Hydroplaning?

Proper vehicle maintenance plays a key role in reducing the risk of hydroplaning. Make sure your tires are correctly inflated, and rotate or replace them when necessary.

You can also help reduce your risk of hydroplaning by slowing down. The faster you drive, the more difficult it is for your tires to safely scatter water. Turn off cruise control, drive in a lower gear, and avoid sharp turns or hard braking. If possible, it's best to drive in the tire tracks of the cars in front of you, and stay away from the outer lanes where water tends to accumulate.

Are You Eligible for Compensation for a Hydroplaning Accident?

A hydroplaning accident can result in significant vehicle damage, as well as serious injuries to the driver and any passengers. Although no one can be blamed for the weather, there are a number of circumstances in which you might be eligible for compensation for your accident-related expenses:

  • You were hit by another driver. If another driver also lost control of his vehicle due to hydroplaning, both of you would likely be found partially at fault. You'd be eligible for compensation that would be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.
  • You were driving a vehicle that is owned by someone else. If you were in an accident while driving a vehicle that was borrowed from a friend, owned by your employer, or used as part of a driver's education class, the vehicle's owner may be held liable if poor vehicle maintenance was a factor in the accident.
  • The roads were poorly maintained. Hydroplaning is more likely when roads have potholes and cracked or damaged surfaces. If your accident occurred on a poorly maintained road, you may have a case against the agency responsible for the road's upkeep.
  • Your tires were defective or poorly manufactured. If there was a problem with your tires that contributed to the accident, the tire manufacturer can be held responsible for your injuries.
  • Your mechanic performed substandard repairs. Mechanics who cut corners when performing repair work or fail to identify safety concerns when inspecting a vehicle may be found liable for injuries that result.

If it's determined that you're eligible for compensation, you may be able to collect the following:

  • Medical expenses, including emergency room care, follow-up care, and any anticipated future expenses related to your injuries
  • Lost wages, including time off work during your recovery and any applicable reduction in your future earning potential
  • Pain and suffering, covering both the physical pain and emotional trauma of the accident

To protect your right to compensation, the best course of action is to hire a skilled personal injury attorney. Neblett, Beard & Arsenault’s legal team is dedicated to helping Louisiana residents receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives following an auto accident. To learn more, please call to schedule a free, no-obligation case review. Appointments are available at six convenient office locations.