What is an Underride Accident?

Underride accidents are among the most fatal accidents that can occur on the road, and data shows that more than 300 people are killed in underride accidents every year. An underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle driving behind or beside a truck crashes into the side or back and slides underneath, becoming lodged. Often the top of the smaller car is taken off when it slides beneath the truck, which is why severe injuries and fatalities nearly always occur in these types of crashes.

Generally, the rate of underride accidents has gone down over the years since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) required the addition of rear guards to trucks in 1998. Studies have shown that the presence of rear guards on trucks is effective in preventing cars from sliding underneath in a collision. However, these guards are known to wear down over time and be less effective as barriers, and there is currently no requirement for side guards on trucks to prevent underride accidents from happening from the side.

How Underride Accidents Occur

It makes sense to assume the car that becomes lodged beneath a truck from behind is at fault for the accident and any resulting damages. After all, rear-end accidents are usually the fault of the driver in the back. However, some of the more common reasons for underride accidents show that the truck driver or other parties may be to blame.

Parties may be at fault for an underride collision if:

  • Someone else created a danger that required the truck driver to slam on their brakes, leading to the vehicle behind them to slide underneath. This is especially common as trailing vehicles aren’t able to also see the hazard ahead and react in time.
  • The truck’s lights malfunctioned. The lack of signal or stop lights means that the trailing vehicle won’t be alerted to the fact that the truck driver is slowing down or is about to make a turn, which can lead to an underride accident. If the individual injured can prove that the lights malfunctioned, it may either be the truck driver’s fault (if they failed to change out their lights) or the light manufacturer’s fault (if there was a defect).
  • The truck driver suddenly slammed on their brakes without advanced warning or failed to signal. Drivers who aren’t properly trained or are behaving recklessly pose a danger to others on the road when they fail to adhere to rules of the road and take turns before signaling or make sudden movements.

Because cars get crushed as they travel beneath the truck, injuries in underride accidents often involve amputation and loss of limbs, as well as crushing injuries. All of these injuries are severe enough to reduce a person’s quality of life and lead to permanent disability, while some even cause death at the scene. Other injuries can include broken bones, internal injuries to organs, and psychological trauma.

Call Our Firm for Representation

Severe injuries acquired in underride accidents often mean a lot of financial hardship for the individuals and families involved. If you’ve been rendered disabled in your accident, you’ll likely have to pay for medical equipment and home improvements to help you move around, and you may even have to quit your current job. If you lost a loved one, you’re likely suffering from the weight of funeral expenses as well as lost income that the deceased was earning.

Our truck accident lawyers know how much is at stake for your future and can fight to get the compensation you’re entitled to after suffering major losses. You don’t want to entrust your case to a firm that lacks results and commitment. Our firm has the results to back up our reputation.

When negligence causes a truck accident, the injured deserve justice. Call our Indianapolis underride accident lawyers today for a free consultation at 317-488-5500.