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Rear-end Accidents and Underride Events in South Florida

Drivers share the roads with tractor-trailers every day across the State of Florida and the high number of vehicles means that every day there will be many instances where passenger cars end up in crashes with commercial trucks . There are many reasons for these crashes, but they frequently are caused by truck driver negligence or the reckless actions of a trucking company.

When a person has been involved in a terrible collision with a tractor-trailer or has lost a loved one as a result of a negligent truck driver, it may be difficult to know where to turn for answers. The skilled and compassionate Miami truck accident attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will work with you to get the answers and the results that you deserve.

One of the most devastating accidents that a person can experience when impacting a tractor-trailer is an underride event. What this means is that a smaller vehicle passes underneath the frame of the commercial truck. Often, there is severe structural damage to the car and in some accidents, the top of the passenger vehicle is sheared off completely.

Rear underride accidents may be caused by a number of different circumstances, including:

• Poor lighting on the truck or missing visual alert features – a truck is supposed to have adequate warning lights and reflective surfaces so that other drivers are aware of the presence of the truck on the road. When these are missing, a car may approach a truck much closer than intended. When there is a poorly illuminated truck combined with slowing or stopping of traffic, the consequences can be deadly; We had a case where a 50 year old man and his mom were driving on a dark 4 lane divided highway. An 18 wheeler decided to pull out from a rest area cross their lane of traffic to go left. The truck driver stopped his vehicle blocking the lane of traffic my client’s were in. The lighting on the truck was poor, reflectors were missing, my client was going the speed limit, 50 mph, and evidently from the physical evidence, did not see the tractor trailer until it was too late to stop. His car went under the side of the trailer and both driver and passenger were killed. We hired an expert on what a truck should do to be visible and another to show how when driving along at night, it is hard to see and then react to an unexpected problem, in this case a trailer blocking the roadway. The trucking company paid the family of the deceased full policy limits.

• A truck that turns suddenly in front of a passenger vehicle – the size of a tractor-trailer means that it cannot accelerate suddenly, so when it pulls in front of another vehicle, there may not be time to stop; We have handled many such cases such as a Bud Light truck which turned left in front of my teenage client causing her very serious injuries, and
• A truck that changes lanes without warning – moving in front of a vehicle that is traveling faster than the commercial truck also may lead to a serious collision. Here again, our firm has a lot of experience in this area and have successfully gotten our client’s a lot of money for their injuries or th death of a loved one.

The extreme danger that is posed by tractor-trailer underride event prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to enact rules and regulations relating to the installation of rear guards. These safety devices are supposed to prevent the intrusion of a passenger vehicle into the undercarriage of the commercial truck. However, there are many inconsistencies with this type of safety device.

First, the discrepancies in the height of the truck and the many different types of vehicles on the road means that there is the potential for some smaller vehicles to intrude into the undercarriage even with the protective guard in place. Second, there are studies that show that a rear guard is not sufficient to prevent a car from moving under the commercial truck in a high speed crash. A recent data collection analysis for the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) for the 2008 Trucks Involved in Fatal Accidents (TIFA) report indicates that 65 to 80 percent of rear truck crashes involve some type of underride event and this number could be as high as 90 percent. Further, some rear guards do not work effectively if there is an offset crash rather than a collision where the car strikes the middle of the rear of the truck. Regardless of the circumstances of the crash, the consequences often involve severe injuries or fatalities. Also, if the car hits it’s brakes hard, the nose, or front of the car will dive down, making it lower and more likely to underride the truck.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano Attorneys Work Hard for Truck Accident Victims

Being involved in a truck underride accident can lead to horrific injuries and a life that never will be the same. The dedicated and experienced Miami truck accident attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano understand how much you and your family are suffering and we will do our best to get the compensation that you deserve. With 120 years of collective experience, our attorneys are proficient in getting good results for our clients. This dedication has been recognized with an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and an invitation to join a very selective legal society, Primerus. Moreover, the Miami Herald has voted us one of South Florida’s top-rated law firms. To discuss what happened to you or your loved one, call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.

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