Carriage Underride Accident Lawyer in Tampa
When a smaller car slides underneath a large truck or tractor-trailer, it is called a carriage underride or an undercarriage collision. This type of accident is one of the deadliest for those in the car that ends up underneath the larger truck. Not only does the initial impact usually cause significant damage and injuries, but the weight of the vehicle can cause further damage and potentially crush the victims in the other car.
The most significant contributing factor to carriage underride accidents is the size difference between the two vehicles. If two cars in an accident are of similar size, the damages will likely be comparable. However, when one vehicle is much larger than the other, the smaller vehicle will sustain more damage than the truck.
Even the most modern safety features cannot prevent a car from going under a truck or trailer’s carriage. Most safety features are contained within the vehicles’ sides to provide protection in accidents of two similar-sized vehicles. In a carriage underride accident, the windshield and top of the car, where there is much less protection, are likely to become wedged underneath the truck or trailer’s carriage.
How Common are Carriage Underride Accidents in Florida?
It’s been almost 70 years since the first laws were created that were designed to protect drivers of small vehicles from becoming trapped underneath a big rig’s trailer. The NHTSA has been tracking the efficacy of underride guards in reducing injuries and fatalities. In particular, Florida has shown a promising 27% drop over the last few decades of injuries and deaths due to carriage underride accidents. However, even with these regulations and guidelines, carriage underride collisions still occur.
However, in 2017, large trucks were involved in about 8.8% of all fatal vehicle crashes in 2017, according to the NHTSA. Of those, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that from 2008 to 2017, there were 219 carriage underride fatalities. But, there is a caveat to that number as the GAO believes the number is dramatically underreported due to a lack of coordination by state and federal agencies for singling out this type of accident.
What Causes a Carriage Underride Accident?
Some of the most common causes of carriage underride accidents include:
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Faulty brakes on the smaller vehicle
- Malfunctioning lights on the trailer
- Poorly executed lane changes
- Unexpected hazards or changes on the road
- High traffic congestion
- Distracted driving
Although there are many other possible contributing factors to carriage underride accidents. In essence, anything that can cause an accident between vehicles can lead to a carriage underride collision.
What are the Most Common Types of Injuries from Carriage Underride Accidents?
Because of the nature of carriage underride accidents and the lack of safety features in the areas of cars that are impacted the hardest, this type of accident can often prove deadly. And, it is almost always the people in the smaller car who suffer the most severe injuries. For victims who escape death, the injuries sustained are often severe, life-changing, and include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Injuries to the head, neck, and spinal cord
- Amputations of the upper extremities due to becoming trapped in the wreckage
- Broken bones and fractures throughout the body
- Severe lacerations and scarring
- Internal bleeding from punctured organs
How Can a Carriage Underride Accident be Prevented?
The GAO is working on more guidelines and recommendations to help prevent carriage underride accidents. Still, even after 70 years of trying to make carriage underride accidents a thing of the past, they have yet to achieve effective measures to prevent them entirely. The best way to avoid a carriage underride accident is always to practice defensive driving. Never follow too closely behind a semi-truck and always assume there is a hazard ahead of them that you won’t be able to see.
Can I Pursue Damages for a Carriage Underride Accident?
In Florida, a person injured in a carriage underride accident may be able to pursue a case against the truck driver, trucking company, or another party deemed liable for the accident. Some of the damages you may be entitled to recover compensation for include, but are not limited to:
- Medical expenses for both current and future treatment
- Current and future lost wages, including loss of earning potential if you suffered a permanent disability.
- Many out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses and loss of earnings in a wrongful death case
How Can I Find a Carriage Underride Attorney in Tampa?
Darrigo & Diaz has been serving the Tampa area for more than 20 years, and our team has expert carriage underride accident attorneys. We understand the complex nature of dealing with semi-truck accidents, and our number one priority is to help you get the money you need to heal. We provide excellent, phone consultations from the convenience of your home or hospital room. Call us today at (813) 774-3341 or contact us online with your questions.