Semi-Trailer Underride Accidents
Large trucks, also known as big rigs, semi-trucks, 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers, can wreak seemingly unlimited amounts of havoc on Florida highways and roads. These massive, 80,000-pound vehicles must be operated with the utmost care, as well as diligently maintained, in order to remain safe on the road. When carrier companies fail to update the safety equipment on their trucks, the lives of other drivers are put at risk.
At Meldon Law, we’re here to help after a large truck underride accident
Tractor-trailer accident victims may deserve compensation for their injuries after a major crash. The Florida truck accident attorneys at Meldon Law have helped hundreds of accident victims get the money they need after a major truck accident. Let us take on the fight for compensation on your behalf so that you can move on with your life after a serious accident. Contact our skilled Florida semi-truck accident attorneys today for a no-cost consultation.
Why do semi-trailer underride accidents happen?
Semi-trailers are lifted much higher off the road than a sedan or even a light truck. A semi-trailer underride crash occurs when a smaller vehicle travels beneath the undercarriage of a large truck, either from the side or rear. These accidents frequently happen at night when visibility is very low.
Government safety offices estimate that, among all fatal collisions involving a truck and passenger vehicle, roughly a quarter are described as underride accidents. These crashes can be extremely dangerous, even when not fatal. When a rear truck guard strikes the lower vehicle, the guard often goes through the windshield at eye level, potentially causing severe injury to the driver’s head. In especially serious underride accidents, the smaller vehicle’s roof may be torn off entirely.
Any truck manufactured in or after 1998 is required to have underride protection devices, but these guards aren’t always successful in preventing a crash. Some underride guards are made of basic fiberglass that is easily broken. Others have been shown to be ineffective at keeping vehicles out at speeds as low as 35 mph.
Some of the most common reasons that underride accidents occur are:
- Slow speed: Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers sometimes travel at a much slower speed than that of surrounding traffic. It can be difficult to tell that a truck is traveling so much more slowly than other cars until a driver is right behind the truck, at which point it might become impossible for the vehicle to stop. This can result in a car going at the speed of surrounding traffic sliding under the larger, slow-moving truck.
- Defective or poorly–maintained tail lights: Low visibility is a big factor in underride accidents. If a slower-moving truck lacks appropriate lighting on its tail end, a driver of a passenger vehicle traveling at night might be unable to tell that they are approaching a truck, and they might collide with it.
- Trucks stopped on the side of the road with no hazards, flares, or reflective triangles: Trucks stopped on the road that lack any sort of flashing or brightly-colored warning lights can become extremely difficult to see on dark roads, leading to underride crashes.
- A truck crosses in front of oncoming traffic and lacks required warning lights: Side underride crashes tend to occur when a passenger vehicle collides with the side of a truck that is turning or crossing in front of them at an intersection. Often, these crashes occur when the truck lacks sufficient lighting along the sides of its trailer, or the driver overestimates the speed at which the truck will have finished traveling through the intersection.
How can a attorney help me after a semi-trailer underride accident?
Accidents involving large cargo trucks can be complex and challenging. Carrier companies face legal action from truck accident victims on a constant basis, making them experts at defeating victims’ claims or reducing their value substantially. As a result, truck underride crash victims need to have their own dedicated team of knowledgeable legal professionals on their side to ensure that they receive the full compensation they’re due. Meldon Law’s skilled team of tractor-trailer accident attorneys can help by:
- Handling settlement negotiations: Carrier companies will try to convince you to take pennies on the dollar for what your claim is worth. Our experienced attorneys know how much you deserve for your injuries and will protect you from low-ball settlements that the other side calls “generous.”
- Gathering evidence: Truck accident claims can involve a great deal of technical evidence, such as accident reconstruction evidence, analysis of whether the truck involved in your crash was in compliance with state and federal regulations, and forensic evidence from the scene of the crash. Our team of investigators and experts will gather and compile this evidence expertly and efficiently.
- Proving your claims in court: Even when liability seems obvious, crafting arguments and presenting them persuasively to a judge or jury requires great skill. Our team’s decades of experience is just what you need on your side after a serious accident.
Get the Help You Need After a Florida Semi-Truck Underride Accident
For committed and compassionate legal support after a Florida trailer underride accident, contact the legal team at Meldon Law for a free consultation on your case.