Whether called a large truck, semi truck, tractor trailer, big rig, or 18-wheeler, these large and heavy trucks pose many dangers to the occupants of smaller vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 296,000 large truck accidents nationwide in 2009. Included in this total were 3,215 fatal crashes, and 53,000 injury crashes. The extra length, heavy weight, high center of gravity and tall chassis height increases the risk of a deadly Georgia large truck crash, but especially underride accidents, which are the third leading cause of truck crash fatalities across the nation.
A large truck underride collision occurs when a smaller passenger vehicle hits a straight truck or combination tractor trailer and travels under the truck, oftentimes sheering the passenger vehicle roof clean off in the process. There are two types of underride collisions:
- Side underride collisions occur when a passenger vehicle runs under the truck as it is attempting to cross a street or highway, make a turn, or back up and usually happen at night.
- Rear underride collisions occur, also predominantly at night, when a passenger car runs or gets stuck under the rear of the truck.
Large truck underride crashes may be caused by a number of reasons, but, most often, they are caused by missing or inoperative trailer lights, antiquated or lack of underride guards, excessively slow truck speeds, and failure to use emergency lights when moving at excessively slow speeds. The truck manufacturer is responsible for attaching the proper lights and safety equipment, including underride guards. The truck operating company is responsible for maintaining all of their trucks and keeping them in good repair. Finally, it is the truck operator’s responsibility to make use of emergency/caution lights and any other cautionary measure to ensure safe travel for them, as well as passenger vehicles on the road. If any of the aforementioned parties do not fulfill these responsibilities, then they may be held liable for any injuries or fatalities that result.
If you have suffered serious injury or the loss of a loved one in a Georgia truck underride accident, our dedicated large truck accident attorneys in Atlanta at The Law Offices of Wayne Grant, P.C., can help you exercise your legal rights so that you and your family may recover the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a consultation and to learn more about your legal options at 404-995-3955.