Crestview Man Dies After Rear-Ending Tractor-Trailer
Tractor-trailer accidents are quite common on Florida roads, but while a majority of them can be traced back to driver error, that ‘error’ is not always the truck driver’s. In August 2022, a man from Crestview was killed when his vehicle “failed to follow” a tractor-trailer “at a distance that was reasonable,” and eventually struck the rear of the tractor-trailer. He was pronounced deceased at the scene, while the driver of the tractor-trailer had no noticeable injuries. Driving around a tractor-trailer should always be defensive, but sadly the Crestview man allegedly failed to do this.
Tractor-Trailers Can Be Dangerous
Accidents involving tractor-trailers happen with an unfortunate regularity; a total of 4,014 people died in large truck crashes in 2020. Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimate that accidents involving tractor-trailers (as opposed to single-unit trucks) caused about three-quarters of all truck accident fatalities in 2020, with the overwhelming majority of those deaths being occupants of passenger vehicles like cars or pickup trucks. Tractor-trailers are simply too large to sustain much damage from striking a car; they can weigh as much as 30 times as much as an individual passenger vehicle, and that weight can unfortunately cause significant damage to a car or SUV driver.
In addition to the overall weight of a tractor-trailer, its stopping distance can also make a huge difference in terms of the damage the vehicle can cause. In general, a large vehicle like a tractor-trailer may need as much as 40 percent more stopping distance than a car, but too often, neither truck nor car drivers are aware of this fact. This, added to normal driver errors like driving fatigued or distracted, speeding, or missing highway signs, can create a recipe for danger.
Do Not Be Afraid To Seek Compensation
If you have been in an accident with a tractor-trailer, and you struck the rear of the truck, it is important to understand that just because you struck the tractor-trailer does not mean that you were 100 percent responsible for the accident. It is plausible that accident reconstruction, medical records or other evidence may point to negligence on the part of the tractor-trailer driver. For example, it may be possible to determine that the driver stopped too suddenly, or that they were driving for too many hours (the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires truckers to abide by its Hours of Service, though many do not).
Whatever the situation, it is crucial to understand that under Florida law, you are able to file suit against the driver if your injuries are serious. Florida is a comparative fault jurisdiction, meaning that every person may be held liable for their own percentage of fault. So, for example, if you were ruled to be 20 percent at fault for your own injuries, you might still be able to recover up to 80 percent from the defendant. Depending on the specific situation, it is very often still worth it for a defendant to file suit even if they are partially liable.
Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a rear-end accident with a tractor-trailer, it is likely that your injuries are quite severe. An experienced Tampa truck accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can try to answer your questions and address your concerns about your legal options. We are ready and willing to try and assist you. Contact us today at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.