In truck underride accidents, a smaller car becomes lodged underneath the back or side of a tractor trailer. As opposed to an override accident, which occurs when a truck drives over a car, an underride incident involves the back or side of the truck. Sometimes, the motorist drives under the back or side of the truck. In other cases, a huge commercial truck backs up over a car or turns unexpectedly into the path of a car, causing the car to end up underneath the side of the tractor trailer. Truck underride accidents come in many forms. These accidents occur when a driver rides up under the back of a truck that has stopped or decelerated suddenly.
Usually, these truck accidents inflict serious damage to the smaller vehicle and harm its occupants. The size and power of these giant trucks can crush the top of a car. The car roof can be sliced off and extensive damage to the passenger cabin can cause severe injuries or fatalities. In fact, truck underride accidents are some of the most gruesome and catastrophic road incidents in the trucking industry. They almost always involve severe injuries and are often fatal.
Underride guards are now mandatory for all commercial trucks of a certain size. These metal rails extend from the back of the truck toward the ground to obstruct the gap under the truck’s carriage and the road. Unfortunately, this safety feature has some limitations. Sometimes, the guards are installed with enough room for a smaller vehicle to fit underneath, leaving them unprotected. The rear-end barrier does nothing to prevent side-impact underrides.
Even when the guards are in place, they may not be properly visible due to reflective stickers that have peeled off or are covered in dirt and debris that obscures their shiny surface. To avoid back-end overrides, break lights on the trailer should be working properly as well.
If the truck involved was improperly built or inadequately maintained to avoid this type of accident, car occupants who were injured in an underride accident have a case to make against the truck’s manufacturer or the trucking company. If the driver was negligent, there may be cause to bring a suit against them or their employer. A driver may be found negligent if they were driving impaired or fatigued. Any unsafe driving that contributed to the accident may be held against them as well.
Drivers and passengers who were hurt in underride accidents may be eligible to collect damages for their injuries. We can help build your case against a negligent driver or trucking company. Call a Wilmington truck accident lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. today at 302-656-5445 or contact us online to set up a free consultation today. With offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, we represent clients in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.