Traveling around large commercial trucks can be a harrowing experience. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported 3,725 crashes involving trucks in 2023, with 105 fatalities. Although that number may seem small, truck accidents can have extreme consequences. They cause severe injuries and extensive damage.
Many drivers focus on the trucks themselves, but they often forget about the trailers, which bring a danger all their own: underride accidents. A Frontline report explored the dangers of underride accidents. Learn more about how they happen, how to pursue a claim, and what kind of compensation is available if you fall victim to a crash.
Defining Truck Underride Accidents
When people think of accidents involving semi-trucks or other large commercial vehicles, they may imagine T-bone impacts or head-on collisions. Underride accidents are different because they involve a smaller vehicle colliding with a trailer or truck bed and going under the vehicle.
Cars or vehicles smaller than large trucks can fit underneath a truck or trailer. Underride accidents can happen in two ways:
- Going under the side of a trailer: these accidents typically happen when a trailer crosses the path of a car or when a trailer enters its lane.
- Running into the back of a trailer: these accidents will happen when a car crashes into the back of a truck or trailer. These accidents can happen at varying speeds. High-speed crashes can have serious ramifications.
Do Trucks Have Guards to Stop Underrides?
Trucks and trailers are required to have rear guards to protect against underride accidents. There are currently no rules for trucks to have protections for side underride collisions. Some trailers have both safeguards, but don’t assume a crash with a rear guard will protect you.
Issues like age, degraded parts, or subpar repairs could mean a guard is not efficient protection against an underride accident.
What Causes Underride Accidents?
Like any accident, a truck underride accident could happen in any condition. Some contributing factors include:
- High speeds
- Sudden changes in speed
- Failure to allow clear following distance
- Truck blind spots
- Inclement weather conditions
- Defective or malfunctioning equipment
- Driver error
Injuries Caused by Truck Underride Accidents
Truck accidents can cause extensive injuries and, in some underride cases, fatalities. Injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Paralysis or nerve damage
- Broken bones
What Kind of Compensation is Available for a Truck Underride Accident?
If you’re hurt in an underride accident because of someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for your economic and non-economic losses.
Your economic losses are out-of-pocket expenses after an accident, such as medical bills, property damage, or lost wages. You can prove your losses using documentation: receipts, treatments, diagnoses, and pay stubs.
Non-economic losses can be more challenging to determine. You could pursue a claim for your pain and suffering, mental anguish, or loss of consortium. Underride accidents are harrowing experiences and victims often report long-term mental ailments.
Who is Liable for an Underride Accident?
Several parties could be liable for your accident, depending on your circumstances.
- Truck Driver: in many cases, the truck driver is responsible for underride accidents. They may not have checked the right-of-way or may have been negligent while driving.
- Maintenance Worker: some underride accidents happen because of mechanical failures. If the truck’s maintenance crew neglected to correct a malfunction or defective part, they could share fault for your injuries.
- Manufacturer: If a truck manufacturer failed to create a functional and safe product and allowed it to be used before an accident, they could be partly to blame for your accident.
- Other Drivers: Some underride accidents occur if a car rear-ends you, driving you under a truck. If they are driving recklessly, you may be able to name them as a defendant in your claim.
What to Do After an Underride Accident
After an accident, it’s critical that you call emergency services if you are able. You may need immediate medical treatment. The police can create a report covering the accident while your injuries are treated.
Next, gather evidence from the scene. A crash report will have useful evidence, but your photos, videos of the scene, and witness statements will build a compelling case.
Call an Ohio truck accident injury lawyer. Truck accident claims are more complex than crashes with civilian vehicles. Trucking companies can make the process difficult, and you’re more likely to collect a settlement with the help of an attorney. By working with an experienced attorney, you can focus on resting and rely on their legal advice to get you the compensation you deserve.
What Will a Truck Accident Lawyer Do for Me?
You stand a better chance of recovering the maximum compensation possible by working with an experienced Ohio truck accident lawyer. Your attorney will investigate your accident to find all the available evidence and identify liable parties.
A truck accident lawyer is especially helpful when it comes to securing black box data and communicating with truck companies. As private entities, trucking companies don’t willingly have to release data they control. Your attorney can compel them to share evidence and give you a fighting chance at taking on their corporate lawyers.
Contact an Ohio Personal Injury Lawyer Now
Truck underride accidents can be deadly. They can cause severe damage and leave you with extensive bills and expenses. Call the truck accident lawyers at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA for skilled and experienced representation. We understand how terrifying your situation seems, and we’re ready to hear your story.
We have represented clients throughout northern Ohio and have secured millions in truck accident settlements. Let us know how we can help you. Call (419) 625-7770 to schedule your free consultation.