What Drivers Need To Know About Underride Truck Crashes

car riding behind and next to semi-trucksUnderride crashes happen when a passenger car crashes into the side or back of a commercial truck, such as a semi-truck, 18-wheeler or other big rig, or slides under it. Those who survive these horrific crashes often suffer catastrophic injuries, requiring significant medical care and a lengthy recovery.

At Anderson & Cummings, we have represented many victims of commercial truck crashes. Our Fort Worth truck crash lawyers have extensive experience managing these cases. Below, we discuss more about underride truck crashes, including who may be liable and how these crashes often occur. Most importantly, we talk about things you can do to avoid them.

Injured in a truck accident? Call to find out if you may have a case today. There is no cost for an initial consultation, and if we represent you, there are no upfront costs or fees to pay. We only get paid if you do.

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What Happens in an Underride Truck Crash?

When a smaller car crashes into a much bigger truck and ends up trapped underneath it, we call this a truck underride collision. The big difference in size and the way these crashes happen means the usual safety features in the car will not protect the driver who gets stuck under the truck.

There are two main types of underride collisions.

Side Underride Collisions

An underride collision can happen when a vehicle is riding beside a semi-truck. For instance, if a car is turning or crossing a street or intersection, a car could lose control and slide under the side of the trailer.

Rear Underride Crashes

Underride truck crashes occur when a car slides under the back end of a truck. A common cause of these crashes is because a truck stops or slows down suddenly. If there is a car following too closely behind the truck or the driver is not paying enough attention, it is likely to result in an underride crash.

Are Underride Truck Crashes Common?

Underride collisions are among the most common truck-related accidents for fatal injuries. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that since 2010, about 500 people die in underride truck crashes every year.

The size and weight of a semi-truck, up to 40 times heavier, makes passengers in smaller vehicles extremely vulnerable in these accidents.

While underride guards help, they are not foolproof. Additionally, not all trucks have underride guards, and there is no widespread legal requirement for them yet.

What Causes Underride Truck Crashes?

Underride truck crashes occur when a smaller vehicle slides underneath the rear or side of a large truck. These accidents often happen due to various factors, including:

  • Sudden stops by the truck without proper warning or turn signals.
  • Poor visibility due to bad weather conditions or inadequate lighting.
  • Driver fatigue or distraction causing delayed reactions.
  • Mechanical failures in the truck’s braking system or lights.
  • Improperly secured cargo causing sudden shifts or spills.

Understanding these causes can help you to recognize potential risks. Staying alert and focused on the road at all times can also help you to take preventive measures to avoid underride truck accidents.

How Can Underride Truck Crashes Lead to Serious Injuries?

The consequences of underride truck crashes can be devastating and often fatal. When a smaller vehicle collides with the underside of a truck, occupants are at risk of severe injuries such as:

  • Head and brain injuries from impact with the truck’s rear or side
  • Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis or lifelong disabilities
  • Crush injuries to the chest, abdomen, or limbs due to the force of the collision
  • Fatalities, especially if the smaller vehicle gets fully wedged under the truck

Survivors of underride truck crashes typically suffer catastrophic injuries. Even after a full recovery, victims often suffer long-term physical and emotional damage. The financial aftermath places a significant burden on victims and their families for a long time.

Who May Be Liable for an Underride Truck Crash?

Figuring out who may be liable for an underride crash can be complex. The truck driver is often the first party considered. However, the trucking company or another driver could also be liable. Determining fault usually requires a detailed investigation. This is why consulting with a truck accident attorney promptly is a crucial step in learning about your legal options while taking steps to preserve evidence.

What Legal Options Do You Have After an Underride Truck Crash?

If you suffered injuries and other losses in an underride truck accident, it is vital to understand your legal rights and options. You may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical expenses, including emergency treatment, surgeries and rehabilitation
  • Lost income and future earning capacity due to disability or inability to work
  • Pain and suffering, including physical pain, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life
  • Wrongful death benefits for surviving family members in the event of a fatality

To determine what legal options you may have, you should consider contacting a truck accident lawyer as close to the day of the crash as possible.

How Can I Avoid an Underride Truck Accident?

To minimize the risk of being involved in an underride truck accident, drivers should follow these essential tips:

  • Maintain a safe following distance
  • Avoid driving in a truck’s blind spots
  • Use headlights and turn signals
  • Be cautious at intersections and stoplights
  • Adhere to traffic laws and speed limits
  • Avoid driving between two trucks
  • Take breaks on long drives
  • Avoid aggressive driving behaviors
  • Avoid drivers who display road rage or aggressive driving behaviors

Following these tips and practicing defensive driving techniques can help you to avoid being involved in an underride truck accident.

Call Our Trusted Truck Accident Lawyers in Fort Worth

Injured in a truck crash and need legal help? In the aftermath of a truck underride collision, it is vital to seek legal help as soon as possible.

At Anderson & Cummings, we have a proven history of results. We also have the resources and knowledge to fully manage your case.

Find out what legal options you may have at no cost or risk to you. We are here to help you, and we are committed to holding at-fault parties accountable for their actions.

We fight to get you full and fair compensation. Call for a FREE case review today. (817) 920-9000

*These are actual dollar amounts paid to clients after the deduction of attorney fees and expenses.


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