Most car accidents in Pennsylvania can be attributed to driver negligence or a vehicle’s mechanical failure. But even the most careful driver with a well-maintained automobile can encounter a devastating crash if weather conditions create a slick roadway.
Hydroplaning car accidents in Altoona occur when a vehicle skids over a wet surface and its tires cannot displace the water quickly enough to maintain contact with the road, causing the automobile to lose traction. While a car is hydroplaning, the driver may be unable to operate his or her breaks or steer the vehicle.
If you are injured in a vehicle wreck in which you or another driver loses control of a vehicle due to hydroplaning, there may be avenues for you to recover for your losses. An Altoona auto collision attorney could provide guidance for determining who may have been responsible for the crash and how much compensation you may deserve.
Are There Ways to Avoid Hydroplaning?
In Altoona, cars are most likely to hydroplane and become involved in a crash when traveling at faster speeds, usually in excess of 45 mph, especially when making turns. There are ways in which drivers can mitigate the potential damage if their car begins to hydroplane:
- Holding the steering wheel with two hands
- Slowly easing their foot from the gas pedal to slow the vehicle
- Turning the car only as much as necessary to remain on the road
- Pressing gently on the brakes without pumping them
On road surfaces that are particularly prone to hydroplaning, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation utilizes high friction surface treatment (HFST) to prevent accidents. The HFST creates more grip on the road at locations where drivers often brake, which causes the road surface to become unsafely smooth. Research has demonstrated that HFST application can reduce the number of local motor vehicle accidents that occur on sites prone to hydroplaning.
Parties Who May Be Responsible for Hydroplaning Wrecks
For individuals who suffer injuries in Altoona hydroplaning crashes, it may be difficult to ascertain which party or parties are liable for the losses incurred. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, a claimant may seek compensation from another driver, the manufacturer of the automobile or its tires, or the agency responsible for maintaining the roads.
Another driver may be responsible for a hydroplaning accident if his or her negligent vehicle operation in poor weather conditions caused the crash or if he or she negligently drove a vehicle with old tires which lack an appropriate amount of tread. To demonstrate another driver’s negligence, the plaintiff should be able to prove that the other driver drove negligently, that negligence caused the hydroplaning to occur, and the resulting accident caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
A manufacturer may be liable for a hydroplaning crash under the doctrine of products liability. For example, if a part in the automobile’s brake system or the car’s tires were defective, and that defect caused the accident, the manufacturer of the defective part may owe the plaintiff compensation for his or her injuries either under the standard of negligence or strict liability. In any case in which a product is claimed to be defective, it is vital that the vehicle and its component parts be preserved for examination. This requires notifying all applicable parties, such as the defendant and his or her insurance carrier, the storage facility, and the towing company, so as to ensure that the vehicle is not discarded or salvaged prior to the inspection. Preserving such a vehicle must be done immediately, or it may be permanently lost.
Road Maintenance Agency Liability
If a poorly designed or maintained roadway caused a vehicle to hydroplane and get into an accident, the municipality, county, city, or state responsible for that road’s upkeep may be liable. However, it is particularly difficult to recover damages against a government-related agency because the doctrine of sovereign immunity often protects those agencies from civil suits.
Hire an Altoona Attorney to File a Hydroplaning Car Accident Claim
People injured in hydroplaning accidents in Altoona can potentially collect compensation for the injuries they suffered, including for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, lost earning potential, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. Since there are so many factors that come into play when a hydroplaning crash occurs, it is often advisable to seek guidance from an experienced lawyer. The attorneys at Marcus & Mack could help you determine who is liable for your damages and hold them accountable. Call now to learn more.