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Lawyers for Truck Accidents Caused by Road Conditions

Tractor-trailer accidents are not always caused by driver negligence alone. In some accidents, poor road conditions may be a contributing factor. Truck drivers who don’t pay close attention to their driving when roads are in bad condition — either because of improper road maintenance or inclement weather — can rapidly lose control and cause severe accidents.

If you think poor road conditions caused your truck accident, you should speak to an attorney who can help determine who or what is to blame for the accident. The truck accident attorneys at Nix Patterson are standing by to help with your case. And remember, you don’t pay anything until we win.

Common Causes of Bad Roads

American highways are frequently romanticized on screen in films such as Thelma and Louise and Bonnie and Clyde, but sometimes those roads are in poor condition and cause serious accidents. When the mishap involves a tractor-trailer, the crash can be horrific and cause severe injury or death. There are many ways that a road can be in bad condition and potentially contribute to an accident:

  • Improper road maintenance. Poor highway conditions, such as a lack of lane dividers, broken guardrails, and missing or broken traffic lights, can make the roadway unsafe for all drivers.
  • Poor road construction. State or local road crews who fail to adhere to minimum construction standards and safety procedures can make roads more dangerous and cause crashes. For example, excessive shoulder drop-off can cause a truck driver to lose control when pulling off, which could cause the vehicle to flip or otherwise veer out of control.
  • Uneven surfaces or potholes. A rough, bumpy road may initially seem annoying but harmless. But imagine a huge commercial truck roaring at 65 miles per hour on a highway mottled with potholes, loose gravel, and other hazards. It doesn’t take much for a giant tractor-trailer to lose control on a bad road.
  • Water pooling. When a road or highway gets wet from rain or snow, all motorists may face several challenges that increase the odds of a crash. In difficult situations, water can pool on the road, and a passing truck or car could hydroplane, lose control, and careen into other vehicles, even into oncoming traffic.
  • Road debris. This can be anything that falls from a passing car or blows or falls onto the road. Examples include unsecured cargo, loose car parts, disengaged trailers, etc.

All of the above factors can make it harder to drive on American roads. Consequently, if a road defect contributed to a truck crash, you, as the plaintiff, may be able to sue various parties for your injuries, potentially including the road maintenance agency, the truck driver, and his employer.

Most truck accidents are complicated, and there could be many potentially liable parties. That’s why it’s essential to retain an experienced truck crash attorney early on so they can sort through the evidence and pinpoint who was responsible.

What Are Considered Bad Road Conditions?

Many types of bad roads may contribute to a tractor-trailer accident. Here are a few examples:

  • Clear zone problems. This term means fixed objects that create risks on the highway. For example, a fallen utility pole, tree, or uncovered manhole are apparent zone issues that can cause severe truck accidents.
  • Ice patches. These are frozen, slick areas that can make your vehicle or the truck slide or spin. Ice patches are common in winter on roads that do not drain correctly.
  • Poor intersection geometry. This usually means a poor intersection design, such as narrow streets, sharp curves, turns, etc.
  • Oil and chip. These materials often fix potholes when a road needs resurfacing temporarily. If not replaced promptly, it can become slippery and hazardous for all drivers.
  • Proper guidance. Faded lane markings, hidden, missing, or broken signs can lead to serious truck accidents on challenging roads and highways.
  • Work zones. Construction areas can be full of confusing signs and changes that are hard to predict. If the work zone is incorrectly designed, it can contribute to all vehicle accidents.
  • Potholes. When large potholes remain unfilled, truckers and other motorists may swerve to avoid them, causing a potentially serious accident.

When Bad Weather Contributes to a Truck Accident

Some truck accidents are caused by poor road maintenance, design, or construction. But others can be due to bad weather and the trucker losing control of their rig. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that all commercial truck drivers exercise extreme caution when they drive in dangerous weather conditions that affect traction or visibility. The FMCSA requires the following of all truck drivers:

  • The trucker should always slow down in snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke. A tractor-trailer traveling in good conditions at 65 MPH may need over 500 feet to stop. That distance increases dramatically in bad weather. Driving slower gives the trucker more time to stop when the weather turns bad.
  • The driver should pull over and wait it out if weather conditions are too hazardous to drive safely. If stopping would increase the hazard to the trucker or other motorists, the driver should continue at a reduced speed until he can safely stop.

All commercial truck drivers are required by federal law to be safe on the road and take precautions to maintain public safety. If the driver keeps going the regular speed limit or does not pull off when needed in bad weather, he and his company may be responsible for any injuries.

Proving Liability in Truck Accidents Caused By Bad Roads

Proving liability in any truck accident is often complicated, but an experienced truck accident attorney can sort through the evidence and determine who was at fault. If it is suspected that bad road conditions or bad weather caused the accident, there are many possibly liable parties, including:

The Truck Driver

Even if the accident was caused by a bad road, such as potholes or lack of pavement, the driver is ultimately responsible for seeing the road conditions and doing what he can to drive safely. If the driver loses control of the truck because of bad roads, he is still responsible for avoiding an accident.

The trucker also may be liable for an accident caused by bad weather for these and other reasons:

  • Driving too fast for the conditions
  • Not turning on headlights
  • Driving when tired
  • Driving when impaired or distracted
  • Not following road signs and traffic signals
  • Not using windshield wipers in bad weather

When the driver fails to act with the proper level of care during inclement weather and there is a crash, they could be held liable for any damages and personal injuries. Unfortunately, truckers and their employers may continue to push the limit during poor weather to get the rig to its destination. This can cause the driver to speed or ignore poor weather to arrive on time.

Motor Carrier

The trucker’s employer is also often accountable for the truck driver’s actions contributing to an accident. Suing the trucking company can be advantageous because it is required by state and federal law to carry sizable commercial liability insurance policies. If the crash happens when the driver is on duty, his employer could be liable for your injuries. However, if it appears the driver was off-duty when the accident occurred, it may be challenging to hold his employer vicariously liable for your injuries.

State or Local Agency

Bad or unsafe road conditions should be promptly corrected by the local or state agency charged with maintaining the roads. Sometimes, the duty falls on that state’s Department of Transportation. If a poor road condition contributed to the truck crash and was previously reported to the state, the agency could be liable for damages in a claim or lawsuit.

Note: It is common for plaintiffs to believe there can be just one defendant in a truck accident claim. There can be several defendants as long as each is partially at fault for the accident.

For example, in a truck crash lawsuit, the driver, motor carrier, and even the local road maintenance department could be found liable for your injuries. Your road conditions truck accident lawyers will work diligently to ensure every possible avenue of liability is explored, increasing the odds of substantial compensation when the case concludes.

Speak to Our Road Conditions Truck Accident Lawyers Today

Commercial truck drivers are more obligated to drive safely than others because they hold a commercial driver’s license. This includes slowing down and driving more carefully when poor road conditions are caused by improper maintenance or adverse weather conditions. If the trucker loses control of the truck and causes an accident, he and his employer may be liable for your injuries. Also, the local government could be responsible if the roads were in poor condition.

If you were hurt in a truck accident caused by poor road conditions, you should speak to an attorney immediately. Do not communicate with insurance companies until you get advice from a personal injury lawyer. An insurance company may try to get you to accept a small, token settlement when you deserve much more. Contact Nix Patterson’s truck accident lawyers for a complimentary consultation today.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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