What Is An Underride Tractor-Trailer Accident?
Any accident involving a tractor-trailer has the potential to be catastrophic, particularly given the size difference between trucks and most passenger vehicles. However, a type of crash called an underride can be among the most potentially dangerous and cause the most serious injuries. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates 400 people lost their lives in underride crashes in 2021 – but even if someone survives this type of crash, the injuries can be severe.
Different Types & Causes
An underride accident can happen either from the side of a tractor-trailer, or from its rear. Both types have several different potential causes, though driver negligence remains a common thread in most of them. Speeding, using illegal substances while behind the wheel, failing to yield, and different forms of driver negligence are seen frequently in these types of accidents – but underrides can also occur due to simple brake failure or a lack of visibility on the road.
It is becoming more and more common for tractor-trailers to have side and rear guards to help prevent these crashes, but older vehicles are often not required to have them, or their owners simply have not made the change. This is not negligent in itself, but it can help contribute to injury if negligence occurs. It places the onus entirely on the driver to avoid a potential accident, and sometimes this means that a crash does happen when it might otherwise have been avoided.
Who To Sue?
If you have been involved in an underride accident with a tractor-trailer, your injuries are likely quite serious, requiring extensive medical treatment. Florida observes a concept called comparative negligence, which means that if you are held to be more than 50 percent liable for your own injuries, you may not recover damages from a defendant. If you are less at fault, however, you can recover money damages from the one or more defendants you believe caused your injuries by their negligence.
The most common defendants in an underride tractor-trailer accident are the driver, their employer, and (if a separate entity) the owner of the vehicle. However, there may be others who bear a share of the responsibility – for example, if your accident can be ascribed to brake failure on the tractor-trailer, the entity responsible for maintenance might also be on the proverbial hook. It is generally a good idea to consult an experienced attorney in these types of cases, just to ensure that you are aware of all your options.
Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
Being involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer can be a terrifying experience. If you have been through this, a Tampa tractor-trailer accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can offer dedicated and compassionate representation to get you through the legal process. Call our office today for a free consultation.