Skip to content

Underride Truck Accidents

Florida Underride Truck Accident Attorney

Underride truck accidents are extremely dangerous and can cause severe injuries or even death. These truck accidents occur when a smaller vehicle slides underneath a larger truck, often due to insufficient or poorly maintained guards on the truck. The results can be catastrophic, leaving victims with devastating injuries. The experienced truck accident attorneys at Fran Haasch Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers are here to help those affected by underride truck accidents, offering expert legal representation to ensure truck accident victims receive the compensation and justice they deserve. If you have been injured in a truck crash, contact us today for a free consultation to learn how to seek the maximum compensation for your truck accident injuries.

What is an Underride Truck Accident?

An underride truck accident occurs when a smaller vehicle, such as a car, collides with the rear or side of a large truck and slides underneath it. This type of accident is particularly dangerous because the top of the smaller vehicle can be crushed, causing severe injuries or fatalities to the occupants. These accidents are often devastating due to the significant height difference between the truck and the smaller vehicle, which can result in the smaller vehicle’s safety features, like airbags and crumple zones, being rendered ineffective. Underride crashes can happen for various reasons, including poor visibility, abrupt stops, or lack of proper underride guards on the truck.

Why Underride Accidents Are So Dangerous

Underride truck accidents are particularly perilous due to several key factors. Firstly, the height discrepancy between a large truck and a standard passenger vehicle means that, upon collision, the smaller vehicle often experiences significant intrusion into the passenger compartment. This intrusion can bypass the vehicle’s safety features, such as airbags and crumple zones, which are designed to protect occupants during a crash but are less effective when impacted by a large, high-riding truck. Secondly, the sheer force of the impact in an underride accident can lead to catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and severe lacerations. Lastly, these accidents often occur at high speeds or in conditions with poor visibility, further exacerbating the likelihood of fatal outcomes. The lack of underride guards on some large trucks and their tractor-trailers only heightens the risk, as these guards are specifically designed to prevent smaller vehicles from sliding underneath a truck in the event of a collision.

Common Causes of Underride Truck Accidents

Underride accidents happen due to several reasons, each contributing to the increased risk of this catastrophic event.

Poor Visibility

One common cause of underride accidents is poor visibility, which can occur in adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, fog, or snow, making it difficult for drivers to see the rear or side of a truck until it is too late.

Abrupt Stop by Truck Driver

Abrupt stops by the truck driver may not give the following vehicles sufficient time to brake appropriately, leading to rear underride accidents.

Lack of Proper Underride Guards

The lack of proper underride guards on the truck, which are designed to prevent smaller vehicles from sliding underneath, can significantly increase the severity of an accident.

Underride Guards on a Semi-Truck

Underride guards are critical safety devices installed on semi-trucks to prevent a smaller passenger vehicle from sliding underneath in the event of a collision. These guards are typically composed of sturdy metal bars and are mounted to the rear and sides of the truck. The primary function of underride guards is to act as a barrier, ensuring that in the event of a collision, the smaller vehicle is stopped at the guard instead of sliding underneath the truck. Rear underride guards, also known as ‘Mansfield bars’ after a high-profile accident in the 1960s, are mandated by federal regulations in many countries, including the United States, to enhance road safety. There are also side underride guards, which, while not always legally required, are instrumental in preventing side underride collisions. Properly maintained and robustly built underride guards can significantly reduce the risk and severity of injuries or fatalities, making them a vital component of truck safety measures.

Truck Driver Error

Distracted driving, driver fatigue, and driving under the influence are also major contributors to truck crashes, as they impair the driver’s ability to react promptly to road conditions and the movements of other vehicles.

Poorly Marked Trucks

Lastly, poorly marked or dimly lit trucks at night or during early morning hours can be harder to detect, raising the likelihood of an underride collision.

Personal Injury Claim form with pen and glasses

Compensation Available from an Underride Truck Accident

Victims of underride truck accidents may be entitled to various forms of compensation for their losses. The exact amount and type of compensation will depend on the specific circumstances of the accident, the severity of injuries sustained, and the impact on the victim’s life. Common types of compensation available include:

Medical Expenses

Victims can claim compensation for medical bills, including emergency room visits, surgeries, hospital stays, medications, rehabilitation, and any long-term medical care required as a result of the accident.

Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity

If the victim is unable to work due to their injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for lost wages during their recovery period. Additionally, if the injuries result in a diminished ability to earn a living in the future, the victim can seek damages for loss of earning capacity.

Pain and Suffering

This type of compensation covers the physical pain and emotional distress experienced by the victim as a result of the accident. Pain and suffering damages are often determined based on the severity and duration of the victim’s pain and the impact on their quality of life.

Property Damage

Victims can also receive compensation for the repair or replacement of their vehicle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.

Loss of Consortium

In cases where the accident has severely affected the victim’s relationship with their spouse or family, compensation might be available for loss of consortium, which covers the loss of companionship, support, and intimacy.

Punitive Damages

In certain cases where the truck driver’s actions were particularly reckless or egregious, punitive damages may be awarded. These are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.

Each victim’s situation is unique, and it’s essential to work with an experienced underride truck accident attorney to ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve. An attorney can help navigate the complex legal process, gather necessary evidence, and advocate on your behalf to achieve the best possible outcome.

Who is Liable for an Underride Truck Accident?

Determining liability in an underride truck accident can be complex, involving several parties who may share responsibility. The primary parties that could be held liable include the truck driver, the trucking company, and sometimes third-party entities such as manufacturers of truck components or other drivers.

Truck Driver

The truck driver can be held liable if their negligence directly led to the accident. This includes scenarios where the driver was distracted, fatigued, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or violated traffic laws.

Trucking Company

The trucking company may be liable if it is found that they failed to maintain the truck properly, did not ensure the driver adhered to legal driving hours, or did not provide adequate training. Additionally, if the trucking company did not install the required underride guards, they could be held responsible.

Manufacturers

If an underride accident is caused or exacerbated by a defect in the truck’s design or a failure of safety components such as the underride guards, the manufacturer of the truck or its components might be held liable. This includes cases where the guards were improperly designed or installed.

Other Drivers

In some cases, another driver may be partially or fully responsible for the accident, particularly if their erratic or negligent driving caused the truck to stop abruptly or led to a chain-reaction crash.

Government Entities

At times, liability may also extend to government entities if poor roadway conditions, inadequate signage, or faulty traffic signals contribute to the underride accident.

Shared Liability

In many cases, liability may be shared among multiple parties. The concept of comparative negligence may come into play, whereby each party’s degree of fault is considered, and compensation is adjusted accordingly.

Establishing liability often requires thorough investigation, including analyzing accident reports, witness statements, and expert testimonies to paint a clear picture of the events leading to the accident.

How Passenger Cars Can Prevent Underride Accidents

While much of the responsibility in underride accidents falls on trucks and their operators, drivers of passenger cars also play a crucial role in preventing these tragic events. Here are some proactive steps passenger car drivers can take to minimize the risk of underride collisions:

  • Maintain a Safe Following Distance: Keeping a safe distance from the rear of a truck is essential. This allows more time to react to sudden stops and reduces the risk of sliding underneath the trailer. The general rule of thumb is to leave at least one second of following distance for every ten feet of vehicle length.
  • Be Visible: Passenger car drivers should ensure they remain visible to truck drivers, especially at night or in poor weather conditions. Using headlights, keeping tail lights functioning, and avoiding a truck’s blind spots can help in maintaining visibility.
  • Avoid Sudden Stops: Whenever possible, avoid making sudden stops in front of a large truck. Trucks require a greater distance to come to a complete stop due to their size and weight, and unexpected braking can lead to dangerous underride situations.
  • Use Turn Signals Early: Signaling turns or lane changes well in advance allows truck drivers ample time to adjust their driving and avoid sudden maneuvers. This communication is vital for safety.
  • Stay Alert: Distracted driving is a leading cause of all types of accidents. Drivers should stay focused on the road and be aware of the movement and speed of nearby trucks, thereby enabling them to anticipate and avoid potential hazards.
  • Understand Truck Limitations: Passenger car drivers should be aware of the limitations trucks face, such as longer stopping distances and wide turns. Respecting these limitations can prevent dangerous interactions and reduce the likelihood of underride accidents.

By adopting these safe driving practices, passenger car drivers can significantly diminish the risk of underride accidents, thereby contributing to safer roadways for everyone.

a man with a personal injury gets some legal representation from a personal injury lawyer

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You with Truck Accident Claims

Navigating the aftermath of commercial truck accidents can be overwhelming, particularly when dealing with injuries and property damage. The truck accident lawyers at Fran Haasch Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers law firm can be invaluable allies in ensuring you receive appropriate compensation and support during this challenging time. Here are several ways in which a truck accident lawyer can assist you:

  • Legal Expertise and Advice: The truck accident lawyers at Fran Haasch Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers possess specialized knowledge of the laws and regulations governing the trucking industry. We can provide expert guidance on the legal complexities of your case, helping you understand your rights and the compensation to which you may be entitled.
  • Thorough Investigation: A truck accident lawyer will conduct a comprehensive investigation to gather crucial evidence, such as accident reports, witness statements, and data from electronic logging devices (ELDs). This meticulous approach helps build a strong case to support your claim.
  • Determining Liability: Pinpointing who is liable in a truck accident can be complicated. A lawyer can identify all responsible parties, whether it be the truck driver, the trucking company, manufacturers, or other entities, and ensure they are held accountable for their actions.
  • Handling Insurance Companies: Insurance companies often aim to minimize payouts. A truck accident lawyer will negotiate on your behalf, dealing with insurance adjusters and protecting your interests to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
  • Calculating Damages: An experienced lawyer can accurately assess the full extent of your losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future care needs. This comprehensive calculation ensures you seek adequate compensation to cover all your damages.
  • Representing You in Court: If negotiations with insurance companies fail to result in a fair settlement, a truck accident lawyer can represent you in court. Your personal injury lawyers will present your case effectively, aiming to achieve the best possible outcome through litigation.
  • Providing Emotional Support: Beyond the legal aspects, truck accident lawyers offer emotional support and reassurance during a stressful period. They handle the complexities of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

By leveraging the expertise of a truck accident lawyer, you can navigate the claims process with confidence, ensuring your rights are protected and maximizing your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.

Someone filling out Accident Report Form

What To Do If You Have Been in an Underride Truck Accident

Being involved in an underride truck accident is a traumatic experience, but taking the right steps immediately afterward is crucial for your safety and your ability to seek compensation. Here are some important actions to take if you find yourself in this situation:

  1. Ensure Safety and Seek Immediate Medical Attention: First and foremost, check yourself and other passengers for injuries and call emergency services immediately. Even if you feel fine, it’s vital to get a medical evaluation, as some serious injuries may not be immediately apparent. Your health is the priority.
  2. Contact Law Enforcement: Report the accident to the police, as they will document the scene and create an official accident report. This police report will be crucial for your insurance claim and any legal actions you may pursue.
  3. Gather Evidence: If you’re able to do so safely, collect as much evidence from the scene as possible. Take photos and videos of the accident site, the vehicles involved, and any relevant road conditions or signage. Get the contact information of any witnesses who can provide firsthand accounts of the incident.
  4. Exchange Information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the truck driver and any other parties involved in the accident. This includes names, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and insurance details.
  5. Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible to initiate your truck accident claim. Do not provide any statements until you have consulted with an experienced personal injury attorney.
  6. Consult a Truck Accident Attorney at Fran Haasch Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers: Given the complexity of underride truck accidents, consulting with a personal injury attorney who specializes in truck accident cases can be highly beneficial. They can guide you through the legal process, help you understand your rights, and work to secure the compensation you deserve.
  7. Follow Medical Advice: Adhere to the medical advice and treatment plans provided by your healthcare professionals. Document all medical treatments, appointments, and expenses related to the accident, as these records will be important for your compensation claim.
  8. Keep a Record: Maintain a detailed record of every aspect related to the accident. This includes medical bills, repair costs, lost wages, and personal notes on how the accident has impacted your life physically, emotionally, and financially.

By taking these steps, you can safeguard your well-being and lay the groundwork for a strong compensation claim, ensuring you receive the support you need to recover from the accident.

Fran Haasch Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers Are Committed to Victims of Underride Truck Accidents

At Fran Haasch Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers, our team is dedicated to supporting victims of underride crashes. We understand the profound impact these trucking accidents can have on your life, and we are committed to providing comprehensive legal assistance to our injured clients to help you navigate this challenging time. Our experienced personal injury attorneys possess in-depth knowledge of the specific laws and regulations related to underride collisions and are equipped to handle the complex nature of these cases. From the initial free consultation to the resolution of your claim, we work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. Trust the legal team at Fran Haasch Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers to stand by your side and advocate for your best interests every step of the way.

Awards

Testimonials from Clients

What Clients Are Saying

We understand that a law firm’s credibility is about more than a list of qualifications. Here’s what our clients have to say about our services. 

More About Personal Injury Accidents

Want to learn more about personal injury accidents? Whether its how to prevent them or what to do once you’ve been in one, our blog can help you gather the knowledge and information you need.

Contact Us Today

Contact The Fran Haasch Law Group online or by phone to speak to an experienced attorney in Clearwater today.

Name(Required)
MM slash DD slash YYYY
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

metricool pixel