Residents of Melbourne and other areas of Victoria see their share of wet weather during the winter months. As temperatures drop and precipitation falls, drivers must be on the lookout for hazardous road conditions. Failure to adjust for rainy conditions can result in aquaplaning (also known as hydroplaning).
Aquaplaning occurs when the tyres of a vehicle lose contact with wet pavement. Drivers are unable to control the vehicle as it slides along the roadway, increasing the likelihood of a road accident.
As with all motor vehicle accidents in VIC, no-fault benefits are available for injuries sustained in crashes caused by aquaplaning. However, if you have been seriously injured and you need to file a common law claim for full compensation, it is crucial to determine who may be at fault for the accident.
Henry Carus + Associates have extensive experience in TAC claims and common law personal injury claims involving motor vehicle accidents. For a free, no-obligation review of your case, please call us at 03 9001 1318. We provide legal services to all those injured in Melbourne and throughout Victoria.
Driver Liability for Aquaplaning Accidents
Most of the time, crashes in which aquaplaning was a factor are the result of driver error. It starts as a failure to adjust for the buildup of moisture on the surface of the road. The loss of control often stems from factors such as:
- Excess speed
- Sudden or aggressive lane changes
- Turning a corner too fast
Drivers in the midst of aquaplaning may swerve or apply the brakes vigorously in an effort to regain control. Unfortunately, with moisture separating the tyres from the road, this will only intensify the skid. Not only will the driver be unable to control the vehicle, but motorists in the vicinity will have great difficulty judging where the out-of-control vehicle may slide.
It is the driver’s responsibility to slow down and exercise caution when rain and other weather impacts the safety of the road. So, even if the other driver simply claims that they “lost control of the car,” the reality is that their negligence behind the wheel led to the accident.
Another issue that increases the likelihood of aquaplaning is worn tyre tread. Traction is already reduced when tyres are worn, and the introduction of moisture will further reduce the grip on the road.
If an examination of the vehicle reveals that the tyres of the at-fault driver’s vehicle were worn or bald, this may provide further support for your common law claim.
Public Liability for Aquaplaning Accidents
A road may just seem like a flat surface, but a significant amount of planning goes into the location and construction of every roadway. One of the major considerations in building a road is drainage.
Roads must be able to withstand precipitation. Some of the methods for achieving this include grading to avoid moisture buildup and installation of drains to draw water away from the road surface.
However, construction errors and inadequate maintenance can cause hazardous levels of water to form on the road when precipitation falls, resulting in an increased risk of aquaplaning. Government agencies are generally responsible for road design and maintenance. They also hire third-party companies to perform construction and repairs.
If you suffered serious injury in an aquaplaning accident, you may be able to recover compensation through a public liability claim.
Henry Carus + Associates will fully investigate the design and construction of the road and take action against the party or parties responsible for the unsafe road condition that led to the accident. This may include the government agency that oversees the road, a contractor or subcontractor involved in its construction, or a combination of parties.
Product Liability in Aquaplaning Accidents
Earlier we mentioned the impact that worn tyre treads can have on aquaplaning. Generally, the responsibility for maintaining tyres lies with the owner of the vehicle. However, if the tyres wear out unusually quickly or suffer from some other defect, the tyre manufacturer may be liable for an accident in which aquaplaning was a factor.
Defective product claims are complicated. It is important to understand not only how the product defect contributed to the accident but also the role of “user error,” i.e., the negligence of the driver.
The first step in any product liability case is to examine the product fully – in this case the vehicle and any parts that may have failed. Henry Carus + Associates will enlist experts to assess the vehicle and determine if the accident arose from the driver’s failure to avoid aquaplaning; a defect in the tyres, brakes, or other parts; or a combination of factors.
Contact Henry Carus + Associates for Assistance with an Aquaplaning Accident
Although Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) provides no-fault benefits for those injured in motor vehicle accidents, these benefits may not cover the full scope of your losses after a serious injury. In instances of aquaplaning, our lawyers can determine if driver negligence, a hazardous roadway, and/or a defective vehicle part may have been a factor in the accident.
The accident lawyers at Henry Carus + Associates have decades of experience assisting clients with TAC benefits claims and common law personal injury claims. We believe that You Deserve More, and we live this philosophy both in our pursuit of maximum benefits and compensation and by our total commitment to providing exceptional service to each client.
For a free, no-obligation case review, please call Henry Carus + Associates at 03 9001 1318 or contact us online today. Our lawyers serve clients in Melbourne and throughout Victoria.