In Florida, we are very familiar with driving during or after serious weather occurrences, often on wet pavement. Many of us have had the experience of skidding over a wet or slick road surface, causing the temporary loss of control over the steering and braking of the car. While hydroplaning can be concerning at best, being involved in a car accident because of it can be downright terrifying. But if you were out of control due to no fault of your own, can you be held liable in an accident that was caused by your car hydroplaning?
What Causes Hydroplaning?
Car tires have tread specifically designed to move water out from beneath and away from them. This allows optimal traction with the road surface and minimizes slipping, sliding, and hydroplaning. When a car’s tires are unable to move water away fast enough and they are not able to gain traction with the road surface, pressure at the front point of the tire causes it to hover above the road surface and takes away the driver’s ability to steer, brake, or otherwise control the car in any way.
When the surface of the road is even minimally wet, it mixes with accumulated oil that has built up on the surface of the road. This creates highly slippery conditions, especially for vehicles travelling at high speeds. It is these moments that create conditions for hydroplaning.
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Three factors can contribute to a hydroplaning scenario. These are
- Speed — As speed is increased, the traction with a wet road is significantly reduced.
- Tread depth — The deeper the tread, the more able a tire is to remove water from under and around it.
- Water depth — The deeper the water you are traveling through, the quicker the tires can lose traction. But a thin layer of water can be just as destructive.
Consequently, as careful as you may be driving on slick and wet pavement, you may be caught in a hydroplane scenario.
Who is Liable in the Case of a Hydroplaning Car Accident?
Fortunately, in Florida we have no-fault laws, so the first place an injured party will go for compensation after an accident is to their own insurance company. But in cases of severe injury, this coverage is not always enough to cover costs. In this case, the liable party will be the next source of compensation.
Depending on the circumstances, the driver of a hydroplaning car is usually held responsible in a car accident, but there may be other parties that can be held liable.
- Other drivers may have created a scenario forcing you to react quickly, causing your car to hydroplane.
- Municipalities and state governments are required to keep roadways safe and well-drained. If water has collected on a road due to a design flaw or inadequate maintenance of drainage systems, they may be held responsible for accidents that ensue.
- Tire manufacturers that put defective products into the marketplace may also be held accountable in an accident if the tires can be shown to have had inadequate treads or another design flaw.
If you have been involved in an accident caused by your car hydroplaning out of control, it is critical to get the assistance of a Boca Raton car accident attorney to ensure that your legal rights are being protected.
Getting Skilled Representation After a Hydroplaning Car Accident
After a serious car accident, you should always get the advice of a legal advocate. Leaving the matter up to insurance companies is never in your best interest.
At Ged Lawyers, LLP, we will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, often involving professional accident recreation specialists. We will obtain the official police report, statements from witnesses, video surveillance, and any other evidence to understand and prove who was at fault for the accident to ensure that all responsible parties are held accountable. Accidents involving hydroplaning are typically not the fault of one party alone and our comparative fault laws provide for liability to be shared by all at-fault parties.
Call us at (561) 562-4170 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.