Hydroplaning Accidents: Who Is At Fault?

hydroplaning car on the highway
Madeleine Jones
December 10, 2021

An Important factor in car collisions is the weather. When there are severe weather conditions they will likely increase your chances of getting involved in a car accident. Especially when roads are wet. Hydroplaning is common when roads are wet from the rain or when the roads are puddled along the lanes. According to the US Department of Transportation around 24% of car accidents are related to the weather.  If you or someone you love has been involved in hydroplaning accidents, you or they deserve compensation. This includes property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and more.

What Is Hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning, also known as skidding, happens when the tire of a vehicle moves over a wet surface but can’t get traction. The water in the tires can’t be pushed away quickly enough and the water pressure causes the car to lift up and skid on the water between the tires and the road.

Hydroplaning can be very dangerous in the first minutes of any storm or rain shower. When the water mixes with the oil found on the road, the conditions can make it way easier for someone to lose control of their car.

Causes Of Hydroplaning

Even when slick roads and rain are the main causes of hydroplaning, there are other factors that may lead to these dangerous accidents.


If your tires are in a bad condition and are worn and torn, you are likely to hydroplane in bad weather conditions. If your tires have an incorrect tire pressure, this can also cause the tire thread to function improperly and not push the water away from the surface.


Speeding is one of the main causes of most car accidents, including hydroplaning. A person is more likely to lose control of their vehicle if they’re speeding.

Water Drainage

When certain roads don’t have proper water drainage it can cause water to build up in the road and create pools that can cause vehicles to hydroplane.

How To Control Your Car If You Start Skidding

Hydroplaning can be a difficult situation to handle as it’s happening. If you hydroplane, whether you are the passenger or the driver, you will want to know how to protect yourself. You can do the following to control your car:

  • Stay calm and take control of the situation
  • Don’t move the wheel too much or slam on the brakes
  • Slowly move your foot off the gas pedal and steer your car gently to a safe area and away from other drivers
  • Once your vehicle has slowed down, use the brakes only if needed

If you can, pull off to a nearby parking lot or shoulder to calm yourself. Then, check for any damage to your car.

Common Car Accident Injuries

If you lose control of your vehicle as it hydroplanes you may get injured. Especially if you hit another car. While trying to control your car you might sustain:

  • Neck and back injuries
  • Seat belt injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Burns and lacerations
  • And many more

Regardless of how you’re feeling after the accident, you should get checked by a doctor. There are a number of different injuries that may not show symptoms until days or weeks after the accident. Not getting medical attention not only puts your own health at risk. However, it is a way to limit the damages you might be able to recover if you choose to seek legal help.

Preventing Hydroplaning

There are many ways to prevent hydroplaning accidents. Most of the time it is up to you, if you’re driving, to ensure your own safety. Here are four steps you can take to prevent hydroplaning:

  1. Slow down: driving slower in the rain can help reduce the chances of hydroplaning
  2. Watch out for puddles: if where you live is prone to puddles consider reaching out to the city to repair blocked drainage or update drainage systems.
  3. Stay alert: Other drivers may be trying to give you a heads up if you’re headed towards a danger zone or puddle.
  4. Check your tires: Make sure your tires don’t have any wear and tear and that the tire pressure is appropriate for your tires’ make and model.

Maintaining your vehicle is a way you can prevent accidents and take control even in the worst weather. Making sure your car is in good working shape to handle road conditions can reduce the risk for accidents significantly. These steps are very similar to the ones needed to take when trying to prevent a tire blowout.

Who Is At Fault In A Sliding Accident?

In hydroplaning accidents, there are different parties that can be liable for the injuries they cause. Liability may be established with witnesses’ testimonies, expert testimonies, accident reconstruction, and law enforcement reports. The following are some of the parties that may be found at fault:

  • Other drivers: this type of accident can be made worse by tailgating drivers.
  • Car owner. If you were driving a car you didn’t own, the car’s owner may be liable if maintenance issues caused the accident.
  • Manufacturers: Poorly manufactured, defective, or unsafe tires as a cause of hydroplaning.
  • Mechanics: when a mechanic doesn’t properly fix your car, they can be held liable for injuries.
  • Agencies responsible for roads. When surfaces are damaged or have potholes in them it can be hard for drivers to lose control when their vehicle hydroplanes. The agency in charge of road maintenance can be found guilty of damages if bad road conditions caused the accident.

Compensation For Hydroplaning Accidents

Compensation for this type of accident can include future and past medical expenses as well as pain and suffering, and lost wages. However, collecting compensation for these damages in this type of personal injury claim can be a bit difficult. To fight for your rights, you will need to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. Nevada law allows up to two years to file a claim. But, starting your case as soon as you can ensures your lawyer can build a strong case for you.

Injured In A Skidding Accident?

The team of personal injury attorneys at Cogburn Law may be able to help you if you’ve been injured in a car accident. Helping you through the entire legal process, Cogburn Law attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (702) 747-6000 for a free initial consultation!

I was hesitant about getting a lawyer for many reasons, however the entire staff at Cogburn reassured me that everything would be okay. They were always very attentive and provided detailed answers to any questions I had. I would like to thank the entire staff for all of your hard work, making sure that my daughters and I were compensated for the car accident, and making sure we received all the necessary treatment. You were awesome. If you need an attorney that won’t look at you as just another case, that’ll return your calls/emails I definitely recommend this team.

Jessica F.