During and after inclement weather, standing water on road surfaces can lead to a significant loss of traction for people driving in these areas. If a car’s wheels lose contact with the road completely due to a layer of water or other liquid getting between the tires and the asphalt, the vehicle might end up hydroplaning across the water’s surface, greatly increasing the risk of a collision with nearby obstacles or other vehicles.
Hydroplaning car accidents in DuBois can result in serious injuries for everybody involved, but they can also make for complicated insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. Guidance from a knowledgeable DuBois car crash attorney could be key to sorting out who is to blame for an incident like this and taking appropriate action to maximize financial recovery.
What Causes Vehicles to Hydroplane?
While hydroplaning can occur just about anywhere in DuBois where water gathers on top of a driving surface, there are certain conditions and driving behaviors which can increase the odds that this type of car wreck will occur. Hydroplaning incidents most commonly happen on older asphalt-paved roads, since water is less likely to drain off and more likely to pool in shallow indentations within this kind of surface.
Additionally, while cars moving at slower speeds can generally make it through shallow puddles without losing traction, driving through standing water at over 45 miles per hour very often leads to hydroplaning. Finally, any road that is poorly constructed and does not have a proper cross slope that allows water to drain off to the sides of the driving surface is much more likely to allow puddles to form during poor weather.
Depending on the combination of factors that leads to a particular hydroplaning accident, different parties may bear civil liability for ensuing damages. A qualified attorney could provide irreplaceable guidance about what could potentially justify litigation and what evidence might be necessary to build a compelling and comprehensive case.
Proving Government Liability for a Hydroplaning Wreck
While it is possible to hold a government entity legally liable for hydroplaning car crashes in DuBois caused by poor road construction and/or maintenance, these cases have a few unique rules and restrictions that do not apply to other types of auto accident claims. Most importantly, state law does not allow individual plaintiffs filing suit against the state government to recover more than $250,000 in compensation for damages, and the state government cannot bear more than $1 million of total liability for a single incident (among all claimants). The applicable caps for claims against local government agencies is $500,000.
In addition, prospective plaintiffs must notify their intended defendant governmental agency in writing of their intent to sue, and they must do so within six months of the accident in question—a substantially shorter deadline than that which applies to most other personal injury claims. There is a statute which requires that this written notice contain certain discrete pieces of information so as to adequately notify the agency of the claim. Needless to say, having assistance from seasoned legal counsel is important during cases like this.
A DuBois Attorney Could Help File Suit Over a Hydroplaning Car Accident
Even if your vehicle was the only vehicle involved in a hydroplaning crash, you may still have grounds to file suit against the government entity responsible for maintaining the road where your accident occurred. Without support from a knowledgeable legal representative, you may have slim odds of overcoming the various limits that state law places on civil claims against local and state governments.