Every year, thousands of people lose their lives and suffer serious injuries in commercial truck accidents in the US. According to statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, over 4,800 fatal accidents and 112,000 injury accidents involved commercial trucks in 2018. Many of these collisions were underride truck accidents.
What Does Underride Accident Mean?
A truck underride accident describes a collision between a large commercial truck and a smaller passenger car in which the car travels underneath the bed of the truck. The height difference between the bottom of a truck’s trailer and the average passenger car puts the car at risk of going beneath or getting wedged under the trailer rather than colliding with the rear or side of the trailer. When this occurs, it is called an underride truck accident.
Underride truck accidents are extremely dangerous for those in the passenger vehicle. A driver and his or her passengers are at risk of catastrophic head and neck injuries in an underride accident, including decapitation from the trailer of the truck going through the windshield. Passengers are also at risk of crush injuries from the roof of the car collapsing inward upon impact with the bottom of the trailer. Common injuries suffered in underride truck accidents include skull fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and fatal injuries.
What Causes Underride Truck Accidents?
Underride truck accidents are almost always preventable. They occur most often when one or more parties are negligent, meaning that a party has breached or failed to uphold the accepted standards of care. Although an underride accident describes a smaller vehicle crashing into the trailer of a large truck, these collisions are not always the fault of the passenger vehicle driver. These collisions can have many causes.
- Distracted driving. If a vehicle driver is distracted, such as by texting and driving, he or she may fail to notice a truck coming to a stop, leading to a rear-end collision or underride accident. Other acts of negligence, such as tailgating, can also contribute to these accidents.
- Illegal maneuvers. If the truck driver made an illegal turn or U-turn, an oncoming driver may not have expected the truck to be in the road. This could lead to a side underride accident, where the driver’s vehicle wedges under the side of the commercial truck. A truck driver parking illegally on the side of the road could also cause an underride accident.
- Missing or broken equipment. Broken brake lights or taillights on a truck could make it impossible for the following driver to notice the truck has reduced its speed or stopped, increasing the risk of a rear underride accident. If the truck is missing its rear impact guard, this could also make for more drastic injuries in an underride collision.
It is important for a commercial trucking company to maintain proper fleet maintenance, install all required truck equipment and correctly train its truck drivers. Otherwise, dangerous trucks and negligent drivers can increase the chances of underride truck accidents and related serious injuries. If a trucking company is responsible for causing or contributing to your underride truck accident, its insurance company will have to pay damages.
Who Is Liable for an Underride Accident?
If you or a loved one gets injured in an underride truck accident, act quickly to pursue compensation through the civil justice system. Hire a truck accident lawyer in Albuquerque to investigate the cause of your collision and protect your legal rights. If the trucking company or truck driver could have done more to prevent the crash or reduce the severity of your injuries, the company could be liable for your losses. A lawyer can help you pursue maximum compensation for your severe injuries or a loved one’s death after a truck underride accident.