Underride Truck Accidents: What Are They and Who May Be At Fault?
There are many different ways that a truck accident can happen, but one of the most devastating types of accident is an underride truck accident. Despite being less common than other types of collisions these accidents still kill hundreds every year, and severely injure hundreds more.
Understanding what these accidents are will help you avoid them and understanding who may be at fault will help you in the event that you or a loved one are involved in this type of accident. If someone you know is killed or injured in this type of truck accident, you deserve compensation.
What is an Underride Truck Accident and How Do They Happen?
Even if you aren’t familiar with the term underride truck accident, you are likely familiar with the situation that causes one. An underride truck accident occurs when a smaller vehicle hits either the side or back of a tractor-trailer and slides underneath it. In the best-case scenarios, these accidents will destroy the smaller vehicle and cause serious injuries. In the worst cases, they cause death to the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
The most common way that an underride accident occurs is when the truck is turning. During a turn, the truck driver has virtually no control of the vehicle and if the turn happens to be in the direction of oncoming traffic, it can cause other vehicles to hit the side of the trailer and slide underneath. This will compress the front of the victim’s vehicle, may even cut off the top of the vehicle, and then crush it underneath the trailer, resulting in serious injury and death.
While they make vehicle accessories for large trucks that would prevent a smaller vehicle from sliding underneath them, there is no law that currently mandates this practice, and therefore too few trucks use them.
Rear underride collisions typically occur when a truck is stopped suddenly or traveling at a low rate of speed on a major highway. This causes other vehicles to misjudge the distance and rate of speed the truck is traveling and slam into the back of the truck, resulting in the smaller vehicle sliding underneath, similar to a side collision
The NHTSA has instituted rules requiring trucks to have rear guards to prevent vehicles from sliding underneath the rear of the vehicle, but without regular maintenance, these guards aren’t always as effective as they should be.
Figuring Out Who is at Fault
Proving fault in an underride crash can be tricky and you should always seek the help of a legal expert immediately after your accident in the form of a personal injury attorney.
Unfortunately for victims, if you are involved in a rear-underride collision, there is still the presumption that the driver of the smaller vehicle may be at fault, as is the case with any normal rear-end collision.
However, the key to these accidents is often negligence on the part of the truck driver, and proving this can turn the case in your favor.
For instance, if you are riding behind a truck and the driver fails to break in time and stops suddenly, resulting in an underride crash, this could be considered the fault of the truck driver. Similar actions like not maintaining a safe rate of speed, failing to signal when changing lanes or turning, and failing to account for poor weather are all ways that a truck driver may be negligent and cause an underride accident.
Contact Hall Law Today
If you find yourself the victim or relative of a victim of an underride truck accident, don’t wait to get legal compensation. The time to figure your case out and start preparing evidence for compensation starts right after the accident happens.
Call the legal experts at Hall Law and let us handle your case today!