Underride truck accidents are among the most dangerous types of collisions that take place on the road today. The consequences are devastating and often lead to severe injury and death. So what can you do to cover your family’s medical bills or funeral costs and regain your own peace of mind?
If you or someone you love has sustained injuries after crashing into the back of a large truck, call Cellino Law today. We have been handling underride truck accidents for over 60 years and can help you get fair compensation for losses suffered.
You can reach us 24/7 at (800) 555-5555. Once we take on your case, you can relax while our experienced team of attorneys handles everything. Best yet, there is no fee unless we win your case and get you the compensation you need.
Underride Truck Accident Statistics
While underride accidents are not too common, the results can be deadly when they do happen. The NHTSA reports there are about 219 underride fatalities each year. This is less than 1 percent of all traffic deaths, but these numbers may be underreported due to how states collect local data. While the number of deaths remains small, they are often preventable.
Why Underride Truck Accidents Are So Dangerous
There is an obvious height difference between large commercial vehicles and the average passenger car. The back of a truck is high enough above the road that it often sits within eye level of most motorists, but this is bad for two reasons:
1) Underride accidents will bypass the usual safety features of the car. The front bumper is designed to absorb the force of the hit while deploying the airbag. In this instance, the smaller car can easily slip underneath the trailer. The point of impact will be above the bumper closer to the top of the car. This means the airbag may not be deployed, leaving the driver unprotected.
2) When the lower part of the smaller vehicle slides under the truck, the top half is crushed by the impact. Since the impact is about eye level with the passengers, it will be a direct hit to the head and neck area. This is why underride accidents are so dangerous and can lead to death.
What Causes Underride Truck Accidents?
When cars drive too closely to semi-trucks or other commercial vehicles, a bad accident is just waiting to happen. 18-wheelers sit higher than most other average-sized vehicles. If the truck needs to stop suddenly and the car behind is too close, an underride accident will likely happen.
The smaller car will slide underneath the trailer or back of the truck and become wedged. An underride accident from the side can also happen if you hit the truck at an angle while it attempts to make a turn.
Underride accidents can be caused by:
- Vehicle malfunctions
- Failing to give enough space
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Bad weather
- Low visibility
- Driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- Reckless driving
Federal Guidelines for Underride Guards
To prevent underride accidents, the NHTSA has strict guidelines for impact guards in place. These requirements were enacted back in 1996 and establish how truck and trailer manufacturers must install protective underride guards on the back of every truck.
These standards ensure impact guards are strong enough to keep a passenger vehicle from finding its way beneath the truck. The success of rear-impact guards has influenced companies to add side-impact guards to trailers as well. However, while rear-impact guards are required, side-impact guards are not.
Underride guard failures
Trucking companies have the obligation to ensure that impact guards are installed correctly. The NHTSA has passed regulations that enforce how strong these guards must be to protect other motorists.
It is simply not enough to have rear-impact guards installed to remain compliant. Federal guidelines must be followed. Underride guards are to be regularly inspected and maintained. By installing and maintaining rear-impact guards properly, underride crash deaths can be prevented.
Guards installed improperly
Rear-impact guards should be taken seriously. To save lives, these guards must be installed correctly. The installer must follow the federal guidelines. Accurate clearance must be measured and the right materials used to prevent smaller cars from sliding underneath and larger vehicles from breaking through.
Outdated impact guards
While federal standards of impact guards have not changed since they were passed, states have issued new requirements. Old guards may have weakened over time. Regular wear and tear, weather, and other problems may develop over time. Replacing underride guards with new material every so often is good practice for safe driving.
Defective safety equipment
Regular maintenance and inspections can keep motorists safe. By checking on the condition of safety features, a driver ensures that his or her truck is safe on the roadway. A motorist could hit the back of a truck at night or in bad weather conditions if there is limited visibility.
Reflective safety tape and lights are a great way to ensure that everyone can see a large truck in front of them. Burnt-out lights and missing tape can be proof of negligence.
Trucks without underride guards are in violation of the law. If an impact guard breaks, is damaged, or is missing altogether, the trucking company is responsible for fixing it immediately. When even just one is not securely attached, other motorists are put in danger. If you hit a truck that is missing an impact guard, the company can be held liable for your injuries.
Can You Receive Compensation After an Underride Truck Accident?
New York is a no-fault insurance state. This means it can be difficult to recover extra compensation for your injuries and lost wages. Most accidents are covered under liability insurance paid out by the driver’s own insurance company. This is done to prevent complex legal cases from clogging up the system.
The problem with no-fault insurance is that it has limits on how much you can claim. Most bodily injury insurance maxes out at $50,000, which is not always going to be enough. Your condition must be considered to be serious to qualify for more money.
These serious injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Complete loss of body part
- Permanent disability
- Severe emotional trauma
What Types of Compensation Can You Receive?
An underride truck accident can turn your life upside down. You are likely going to face:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Lost wages
- Mounting medical bills
- Loss of quality of life
- Stress and anxiety
These issues will seem to come rushing at you all at once. Facing them alone would be challenging for even the strongest person. That’s why you need a support system that will always have your back.
This is where Cellino Law comes into the picture. We have helped our clients claim over $2 billion in damages. The compassionate members of our experienced New York legal team understand what you are going through.
You have enough on your plate to worry about. Let Cellino Law handle the rest. We will investigate the crash, negotiate settlements, and fight for every dollar you deserve. Call us today at (800) 555-5555 or fill out the online form for a free consultation. There is no fee to pay unless you win, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.