Truck underride accidents happen when a smaller vehicle slides under a large truck, such as a tractor-trailer. The car’s passenger compartment can become crushed as it is dragged along by the truck, potentially seriously injuring or killing the occupants. Unfortunately, many of these accidents are preventable and caused by a person or company’s negligence.
If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in an underride truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The Houston truck accident attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC provide effective legal representation for victims of truck accidents. We have a proven track record of obtaining compensation for victims who’ve been injured in truck accidents. Contact Ceja Law Firm PLLC today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Why Are Underride Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
Track underride collisions can be some of the most dangerous types of truck accidents. At least one of every four truck collisions resulting in a fatality involves a truck underride crash. These accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries and even death.
Due to their large structure and heavy weight, underride accidents can be fatal even when both vehicles are traveling at relatively low speeds. When a passenger vehicle becomes caught under a truck, the vehicle can become crushed, causing devastating injuries.
Causes of Underride Truck Accidents
Most underride truck accidents are caused by one or more parties’ negligence or recklessness. When all drivers use reasonable care and pay attention to the road, the likelihood of an accident decreases. Some of the most common causes of truck underride accidents include the following:
- Faulty, dim, or dirty taillights on the tractor-trailer
- Very slow-moving trucks with no emergency flashers on
- Trucks that travel slower than the pace of traffic
- Failure to use the correct amount of reflectors
- Sudden braking by the truck driver
- Trucks that are broken down on the road without reflective triangles
- The side lighting on the tractor-trailer is inadequate or inoperative when the truck is turning or blocking a lane of traffic
- Slippery or snowy roads
Side and rear accidents are two main types of truck underride accidents. As the names imply, different types of underride collisions depend on the position in which the passenger vehicle strikes the tractor-trailer. Side underride collisions usually occur when a truck driver turns onto or crosses the street or makes a U-turn.
On-coming drivers in passenger vehicles may not see the truck entering their paths. Many side underride collisions occur at night because the truck isn’t visible. In other cases, drivers assume that the truck is moving faster than it is moving and don’t clear the roadway in time.
Rear underride collisions happen when a smaller vehicle gets caught in the tractor-trailer’s rear. A passenger vehicle may slam right under the truck. When trucks have poor markings, are parked at the side of the road, or are moving too slowly, passenger drivers may collide with them.
In other cases, passenger drivers don’t account for how slowly the truck moves, especially on a highway. When passenger vehicle drivers are distracted or intoxicated, they may not leave enough distance between themselves and the truck in front of them, resulting in a rear-underride collision.
Underride Guard Failure
According to Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, trailers must have a rear safety bar, also called an underride guard. However, the DOT doesn’t require truck drivers and companies to have these guards inspected. The DOT doesn’t require trucks to have underride guards on the sides of the truck, which is how many accidents occur. Guards are intended to place a blockage on the truck to prevent smaller cars from sliding under the truck and becoming crushed. When the underride guard isn’t inspected regularly, it may stop being effective.
Additionally, poorly manufactured or installed underride guards can fail to prevent an accident. When a product manufacturing defect or negligent installation results in an underride guard failing to stop an accident or minimize injuries, victims can pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Common Injuries Caused By Underride Truck Accidents
A truck underride accident occurs when a passenger vehicle strikes the rear of a tractor-trailer. The average car’s windshield height is approximately equal to the bottom of a tractor-trailer. As a result, a collision between the two is incredibly dangerous.
The tractor-trailer may share the vehicle’s roof or crush the vehicle, potentially killing the passengers and occupants inside. Due to the size difference between a passenger vehicle and an 18-wheeler, the smaller vehicle will almost always suffer the most damage.
Cars are frequently totaled in these accidents, which can also cause severe injuries to passengers. Unfortunately, death is not uncommon because the place of impact is usually at neck or chest height. Those who survive underride accidents can sustain many serious injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Amputation or dismemberment
- Severe lacerations
- Organ loss or damage
- Spinal cord damage, including paralysis
- Severe lacerations
Recovering Compensation in an Underride Accident Lawsuit
Underride accidents often cause devastating physical and emotional injuries. The process of recovering damages can be stressful, especially because proving liability can be challenging. The truck driver may be at fault, but other parties could be held liable, including the manufacturer, maintenance mechanic, or truck company.
The attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC will help you investigate your accident quickly and determine who is at fault. We will work with financial experts to determine the total amount of damages you’ve suffered, including your past and future medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering. Our skilled attorneys will begin pursuing the total amount of compensation from the defendant or insurance company on your behalf.
Contact an Experienced Houston Underride Truck Accident Attorney
The attorneys at Ceja Law Firm PLLC have extensive negotiations with insurance companies to level the playing field for our clients injured in truck accidents. Injuries caused by underride truck accidents are usually severe or fatal. If you or your loved one was injured in a truck accident, you would benefit from working with an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can negotiate compensation. Contact Ceja Law Firm PLLC today to schedule your free case evaluation.
Ceja Law Firm PLLC helps clients with underride truck accident cases throughout Harris County and the Greater Houston Area including Pasadena, Baytown, Sugar Land, Bellaire, Galveston, Texas City, Jacinto City, and more.