An underride accident is far more violent than most car accidents. In an underride accident, a car slides under a semi-truck or a large trailer, resulting in extreme damage to the vehicle. In some cases, passengers can be severely injured or even killed.
These types of accidents are extremely dangerous and often fatal. If you or anyone you know has been in an underride crash, you need an experienced lawyer to defend your case and get you the compensation you deserve.
Here, we’ll explain all the details of underride crashes and why you need a good Dallas underride truck accident lawyer.
The Two Types of Underride Crashes
There are two types of underride crashes.
In a side underride crash, a vehicle slides under a truck between the wheels, trapping and often crushing the side of the vehicle. These frequently occur when a truck driver makes a wide turn, making it difficult for other drivers to avoid them.
In a rear underride crash, the front part of a smaller vehicle slides under the rear of the truck and gets stuck in that position. These happen when a truck driver merges onto a road, slowly exits a highway, or stops suddenly, especially when they don’t signal to other drivers what they plan on doing.
To try and prevent these types of accidents, the Department of Transportation requires that semi-trucks come equipped with an “underride guard.” This guard looks like a bar that comes down on the back of the semi. It falls low enough that a car couldn’t fit under it but high enough that it doesn’t make driving difficult for the semi-truck operator.
Some trucks have guards on the side, but these are not required in most areas of the United States.
How Does an Underride Accident Occur?
Underride accidents occur too often. Common reasons include:
- Speeding: Going too fast can put a driver at risk of losing control and sliding under a truck.
- Poor Visibility: When drivers can’t see the road or other vehicles clearly, they could crash into each other.
- Bad Road Conditions: Potholes, cracks in the asphalt, or uneven surfaces can cause accidents by making drivers lose control.
- Improper Lane Changes: If a semi-truck cuts a smaller car off or changes lanes while a smaller car is next to them, it can lead to underride crashes.
- Driver Impairment: If either driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they won’t make the best decisions while driving, and it could lead to accidents.
- Irresponsible Turns: Semi-trucks have to make wider turns; if done incorrectly, they could hit smaller cars. It’s also possible for the driver of the car to not pay attention to the truck and drive into them as they’re turning.
- Tailgating: When a smaller car tailgates a semi-truck, the driver puts themselves at risk of slipping under the truck if the truck driver suddenly slows or stops.
How Can I Avoid Underride Crashes in the Future?
Underride accidents are some of the most deadly that can occur on a roadway, so it’s important to know how to avoid them. There are a handful of simple tips you can remember while driving to keep yourself and your passengers safe from an underride accident.
- Don’t Tailgate: If you’re driving behind a semi-truck, give them plenty of space, far more than when following a normal vehicle. You should avoid driving behind semi-trucks on steep inclines, as trucks may struggle to drive up them.
- Don’t Change Lanes Impulsively: If you change lanes quickly without clearly checking all your mirrors, you could accidentally run into the side of a semi and get pulled under.
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Make sure to constantly take stock of your surroundings so you know where semi-trucks are, allowing you to avoid dangerous situations.
- Don’t Stay Next to a Truck for Too Long: When you find yourself next to a semi, try to get out of their blind spots. Pass them or fall behind, but staying next to one for a long time could put you at risk.
- Avoid Driving in Dangerous Conditions: When possible, stay off the roads when weather conditions make it harder to drive.
Common Injuries and Damages Caused by Underride Accidents
There are many ways an underride accident can affect the lives of victims. These tend to be violent crashes, often resulting in severe injuries and fatalities.
This is because the smaller vehicle isn’t nearly as heavy as the semi-truck, so it suffers great damage. In these accidents, the top of the smaller vehicle is often crushed, which may not trigger the lower airbags that protect the front seat passengers.
Obviously, these types of accidents can result in death, but they can also cause:
- Back and spinal injuries
- Head injuries
- Nerve damage
- Crushed or broken bones
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Brain damage
The impact of these injuries can last for years and require expensive treatments and therapy, which becomes extremely expensive over time.
An accident can also harm those who love and care for the victim. If injuries are severe enough, the victim loses the ability to work, meaning they need others to provide for them. This can cause a severe strain on their relationships and social life.
What to Do When You Get in an Underride Crash
When you get in an underride crash, there are steps you should take immediately to protect yourself from physical harm and prepare for a lawsuit.
1. Assess Your Injuries
Since these types of accidents are extremely dangerous, you need to start by assessing your body to see if you are injured in any way. Check whether anyone else in the collision is hurt. Call 911 immediately for serious injuries and wait for medical assistance before moving anyone.
2. Get Out of Danger
Since the accident most likely occurred on the road, you must get to safety. Step away from the accident and call law enforcement officers to come and block the area so other cars won’t hit you. Get out of the road and wait for help.
3. Document the Accident
Lawyers and insurance companies need evidence and information about the crash. Start by taking pictures of the scene. Take as many as you can, including images of:
- The truck
- Your car
- Any physical injuries
- Damages to property at the accident site
- Tire marks
When you have these taken, record statements from eyewitnesses.
4. Ask for a Police Report
When police arrive, they will assess the situation and fill out paperwork with information regarding the accident conditions and who appears to have been at fault. If you are taken away in an ambulance or forget to ask for a report, you can request one later by contacting the police for a physical copy.
5. Contact Your Insurance Company
Your car insurance company must know about your accident as soon as possible. You should call them the same day and report what happened if possible. They will also appreciate the pictures you took of the accident scene.
6. Find an Experienced Lawyer
Immediately after taking care of the accident and yourself, look for an experienced truck accident lawyer who can help you defend your case and get the compensation you deserve.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer After an Accident?
An accident with a semi-truck often means entering into conflict with the driver and the entire trucking company. They likely employ a team of legal experts who are ready to defend their drivers and try to prove that you were at fault.
An experienced lawyer who knows the ins and outs of relevant laws will be able to defend you against these attacks and make sure your rights are protected. A truck accident attorney who has successfully obtained significant settlements for past clients knows how much money you deserve based on injuries, vehicle damage, and loss of income.
Why Should You Choose Reyes Browne Law Firm?
Reyes Browne Law is made up of a team of lawyers with over 30 years of experience. We have handled over 40,000 case wins—and that number grows every year. Our lawyers have experience working with underride accidents and fighting for our clients to get the financial compensation they deserve.
Past clients have received settlements of up to 15 million dollars. This would never be possible without expert legal representation.
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Contact Reyes Browne Law Today
If you or anyone you know has been in an underride accident, it’s time to reach out to Reyes Browne Law and see what our lawyers can do for you. Our team of professionals will listen to your side of the story and work diligently to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Visit our website today to find a truck accident lawyer near you. Use our case calculator to see how much money you might win in an underride accident settlement. Then contact us and see for yourself how our lawyers can help you.