Accidents involving a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle are dangerous and can result in severe injury and death. The sheer mass of a large truck is particularly hazardous with underride accidents, which occur when a smaller vehicle hits the back of a truck and lodges itself under its trailer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports a total of 934 total fatalities to vehicle occupants striking the rear of a truck in 2013. With the possibility of such tragic results, the short and long-term costs for medical treatment and other damages may be significant. If you or a loved one was involved in an underride accident, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney to discuss your case.
Causes of Underride Accidents
While fault generally points to the driver rear-ending their vehicle into another, in many cases involving commercial trucks, there are other factors to consider. Some of the circumstances that may cause an underride accident include:
- Faulty brake or tail lights
- Inadequate reflectors or markers
- Sudden breaking
- Lack of rear underride guards
There are situations where underride guards are fixed to the back of a commercial vehicle and still fail to protect smaller vehicles from ending up under the vehicle’s trailer. Often the placement and design of the guard only help if the crash occurs directly in the middle of the rear end. Most drivers swerve to avoid an impending crash and suffer extensive injury as a result.
Most underride accidents happen at night and can even occur as side underride crashes. With a combination of inadequate signals or reflectors, a truck driver crossing a street or attempting a U-turn can create a side crash situation. Even daylight hour dangers increase when the trailer is loaded with protruding beams, pipes, or lumber making distance and spacing harder to judge.
Impact of Underride Accidents
A passenger vehicle is often no match for a collision with a commercial truck. A rear-end accident impacts the smaller vehicle’s windshield, roof, and doors with little damage to a large vehicle designed to withstand greater force. The underride occurs as the smaller vehicle continues to move under the bottom of the trailer until enough friction is created with the truck to come to a stop. A trailer cutting through the passenger compartment of a smaller vehicle can result in catastrophic injuries.
Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
Underride accidents may involve multiple parties to your claim. In addition to the negligent driver of the vehicle, the trucking company may be at fault for lack of guards on their vehicle, or the trailer manufacturer for an inherently unsafe trailer. An experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer can help you weed through these intricacies and discuss the circumstances of your case. You may be entitled to damages for the negligence of others causing the accident. Underride accidents are particularly dangerous for passenger vehicles, and you may be experiencing significant personal and financial burdens. Contact Emroch & Kilduff today for a free case evaluation at (804) 358-1568 or online.