Helping Those Impacted by Underride Accidents
18-wheeler accidents often cause the most severe injuries. That’s no surprise. But it is surprising that otherwise identical collisions with 18-wheelers in Europe often have very different results. Though a biker here might be pulled under the tires, a biker in Europe just bounces off. Why such a life or death difference?
In much of Europe, 18-wheelers and large commercial vehicles are required to shield the space between the axels. In the U.S., we’re not. You’re thinking, “I’ve seen trucks here with that.” No, the shield you see in America is only there to improve gas mileage. It doesn’t protect cars and motorcycles. We know because we’ve been on the cutting edge of efforts to force the same change here that protects those on the roads overseas.
Vehicle accidents may all seem the same. There is a collision, either with an object or between vehicles. Does it really make a difference if it’s a truck or a car? In some cases, the level of injury and damage is roughly the same, but underride accidents are completely unique to 18-wheelers. An underride accident is exactly what it sounds like. A car accidentally drives or slides under a truck, causing incredible damage to the car and catastrophic injury, or, very often, death, to the driver and passengers.
We at The Lenahan Law Firm know the trauma underride accidents cause all too well. Rarely do the people in the car make it out without devastating injuries. The size difference between trucks and cars make rear-end collisions incredibly dangerous as cars can partially fit beneath trucks, which can tear off the top half of the car. When two vehicles of the same general size rear-end each other, it usually just results in a dented bumper. Underride accidents, however, usually end in fatality.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an underride accident, The Lenahan Law Firm may be able to assist. Our outstanding track record shows just how dedicated we are to our clients. Contact us today to see if we can help you get the justice you deserve.
Dangers of Underride Accidents
Underride accidents are one of the most dangerous trucking crashes to be involved in. Trucks are the perfect height for cars to become caught underneath and crushed. Safety features, such as airbags, seat belts, and crumple zones are useless, as the first point of contact is usually the windshield. Instances of underride accidents commonly result in death for the people in the car. If you survive you are likely to suffer from catastrophic injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Loss of limbs or amputation
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burns
- Permanent disability
- Skull fractures
- Back injuries
Underride accidents are no joke, and being involved in one will likely have a severe impact on the rest of your life. High medical bills, loss of quality of life, and pain and suffering are all likely outcomes. All of the injuries listed above will require months, if not years, to properly heal. And even then, you may never be the same. If your accident was the fault of someone else, you deserve compensation. With an experienced Dallas trucking accident attorney at your side, you may be able to win every penny you lost and then some.
What Are Common Causes of Underride Accidents?
There are two types of underride accidents: side collisions and rear collisions. Side collisions are often caused when a trucking driver turns at an intersection or curve, changes lanes, or makes a U-turns. It can be difficult for truck drivers to see other vehicles on the road, especially when those vehicles are in the truck’s blind spot. While 18-wheelers are easy to spot, maneuvering away from one coming right at you isn’t so easy. In cases where a car driver can’t get out of the way soon enough, maybe due to being distracted or other traffic is blocking potential exists, the car can end up sliding under the side of the truck, resulting in an underride accident.
Rear collisions are the more commonly thought of underride accident type. These happen when a smaller vehicle rear-ends an 18-wheeler. Trucks can take a long time to speed up and slow down. It’s easy to misjudge how fast you should go when driving behind one. Unfortunately, that misjudgment can result in catastrophe.
Who Is Liable?
Liability and fault are determined on a case by case basis. In order to recover damages from an underride accident, which include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, you must prove that the negligent party was the reason why the crash happened.
With truck accidents there are several potentially liable parties. The truck driver – the one responsible for driving safely – is the most obvious one. But if that truck driver is falling asleep at the wheel because the company, they work for is forcing them to drive long hours, then the company could also be held liable. If the truck doesn’t stop properly because the maintenance workers didn’t maintain the breaks, then they would be at fault as well.
In Texas, the modified comparative fault rule is followed. This means that the court will determine how much each party is at fault, and reduce compensation by the determined percentage.
For example, if you were involved in a side collision with a truck because the truck driver made an illegal U-turn, then the truck driver would be found to be 100% at fault. But if it were found that your brakes have not been given proper maintenance for several months, making it harder to slow down, and that proper brakes would have been able to stop your car before impact, then you may be found to be 30% at fault. If the court then went on to award you $200,000 in damages, 30% of that, or $60,000, would be taken off and you would receive $140,000.
Proving fault can be difficult, especially if the trucking company is doing everything they can to put the blame on you. You need an experienced trucking accident attorney to fight for your rights and your compensation.
How Can The Lenahan Law Firm Help?
The attorneys at The Lenahan Law Firm are well versed in the world of trucking accidents. We work hard for our clients and are willing to go to bat for them, even against the toughest opponents. Underride accidents lead to severe injury and death. Victims are left with medical bills, lost wages, pain – both emotional and physical – and a life that will never be the same again. If you or a loved one have been catastrophically injured by an underride wreck, call us at (214) 295-1008 to find out if we’re the right lawyers for you.