Is Hydroplaning an At-Fault Accident?

Please be advised that the following topic is for informational purposes only and not a legal matter currently handled by our firm. If you need further assistance regarding this particular topic, you can contact your local Bar Association for a referral to an attorney who may be able to address your inquiry in more detail.

The weather is uncontrollable. So, when you head out on the road and end up hydroplaning as a result of slick roads from bad weather, it’s hard to see how anyone else can be to blame except yourself. 

However, it is actually possible for a California hydroplaning car accident to be the cause of another party’s negligence, which means hydroplaning is not always an at-fault accident. 

If you are injured in a California car accident due to hydroplaning, your best course of action is to work with an attorney. If the accident is someone else’s fault, you will need a lawyer to help you prove your case and defend your rights, which is not easy in hydroplane accident cases. 

What is a Hydroplaning Car Accident?

Hydroplaning occurs when there is moisture, such as ice or standing water on the road. Specifically, it happens when you drive over a wet surface, and the tires of your vehicle lose traction with the ground and skid or slide overtop of the water or ice. 

These situations can be very dangerous, especially if traveling at higher speeds. Once your tires lose traction, it is hard to regain control of the vehicle, which can lead to the car spinning out of control. Your vehicle might also run off the side of the road or crash into other vehicles or even pedestrians or property. 

California Liability: Is Hydroplaning an At-Fault Accident?

So, is hydroplaning an at-fault accident? No, not necessarily, but it can be. Whether or not a hydroplaning car accident is an at-fault accident will depend on how or why exactly the hydroplaning occurred in the first place. 

Hydroplaning can be an at-fault accident if you were the one driving recklessly, such as speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, or making unnecessary sharp turns. If the hydroplaning happened because you weren’t careful enough, it will most likely be an at-fault accident. 

However, it is possible in some cases for the hydroplaning to technically be due to another party’s negligence. This can include:

  • Another driver: If another driver was driving recklessly and they caused you to swerve into the wet area, for example, which then caused you to hydroplane, you may be able to hold that other driver responsible. Or perhaps another driver stopped in the middle of the road where they weren’t supposed to, and you had to slam on the brakes, causing you to hydroplane; it is also possible that they could be the one at fault and not you. 
  • Tire manufacturer: If the hydroplaning happened as a result of a tire defect, which caused the tires to lose traction, then it may be possible to hold the tire manufacturer at fault. These cases are rare, but they can happen. 
  • Mechanic: If you keep up with regular maintenance, but your mechanic makes an error that affects your tires or some other aspect of the vehicle, causing you to lose control and hydroplane, you could potentially hold the mechanic or the repair shop accountable. 
  • Local municipality: In some cases, water or ice might accumulate on the road due to poor road design or a lack of road maintenance. And it is the responsibility of local municipalities to stay on top of these things. So if you hydroplane in an area where water should not have accumulated in the first place, you may be able to file a claim against the municipality. 

Keep in mind that holding another party responsible means you will carry the burden of providing evidence to prove that someone else is to blame, which is not easy. Holding local municipalities at fault can be especially difficult. So, if you intend to file a claim and recover compensation from another party, you will be more likely to win your case if you have the help of an attorney. 

How to Avoid a Hydroplane Accident

While it is possible to hold another party liable for a hydroplane accident, it is still wise for you to handle your vehicle with care. In some cases, both your own driving actions and someone else’s negligence could have contributed to the accident, which means you can still recover compensation, but it will be reduced based on your percentage of fault or how much you contributed to the accident. 

So, how can you avoid hydroplaning?

  • Drive at slower speeds when the roads are wet and icy. 
  • Avoid driving through puddles of water if possible.
  • Use precaution when driving through standing water.
  • Try to avoid making sharp turns when the road is wet or when there is standing water.
  • Avoid hard braking when the roads are wet.

If you do start to hydroplane:

  • Take your foot off the gas
  • Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel
  • Do not turn the steering wheel; try to keep it straight or keep it from turning 
  • Do not try to slam on your brakes; let the car slowly come to a stop on its own or slowly pump the brakes until the car stops

We Handle Your Hydroplaning Car Accident Claim So You Can Focus On Your Life

If you are involved in a California hydroplaning accident, our team can help. Even if you aren’t sure if another party is responsible, we can review your case and offer you guidance on your best options moving forward. 

Let the team at Sally Morin help you navigate your claim so you can get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 877-380-8852 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.

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It is essential to know your rights after a traffic accident so you can protect yourself and the value of your claim.
This guide will help you:

  • 1Know what to do when dealing with insurance claims, police reports and lawyers.
  • 2Avoid making mistakes that undermine the value of your claim
  • 3Put yourself in a position to get the best settlement possible