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Truck Underride Accidents Lawyer

When a semi or tractor-trailer collides with a passenger vehicle, it is usually those in the smaller vehicle who are injured or killed. According to a 2020 report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in two-vehicle crashes involving a large truck and passenger vehicle, 97 percent of the fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants. 

Truck underride collisions are some of the most dangerous of all truck accidents. These collisions typically result in catastrophic injuries or death. Unfortunately, due to a semi’s massive size and weight, underride collisions can even be fatal when traveling at low speeds. 

If you or someone you loved has been injured or killed in a truck underride accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses, but it takes work to prepare and file a strong claim. The compassionate legal team at Fielding Law is here to help guide you through the entire legal process. That way, you can relax, take time to recover, and focus on your family.

Schedule a free case review with Fielding Law today. Call us 24/7 at 877-880-4090 or complete our online form to contact us. 

What is an Underride Truck Accident?

Semis, tractor-trailers, and 18-wheelers are higher off the ground than standard passenger vehicles. When a smaller vehicle slides underneath the trailer of a large truck, this is known as an underride accident. 

If a truck driver stops suddenly, a passenger vehicle may rear-end the tractor-trailer. Due to the height discrepancy, the car may pass through the rear of the truck’s undercarriage. Underride accidents can also occur from the side of an 18-wheeler where no guard is required. The car could slide underneath the trailer and become trapped. 

Causes of Truck Underride Accidents

New safety standards and technology are constantly emerging to help make our roads safer for everyone. Unfortunately, despite these advancements, thousands are severely injured or killed every year in truck accidents. The IIHS reported that 4,014 people were killed in large truck crashes in 2020. 

The following are some common reasons why a truck underride accident may occur.

Operator error

Many underride accidents are the result of truck driver error. The following actions or inactions have resulted in truck accidents:

  • Driving much slower than the speed of traffic
  • Abruptly slowing down or stopping
  • Failing to use reflective triangles when the truck breaks down and is parked on the side of the road
  • Driving while distracted
  • Failing to check blind spots or signal before changing lanes
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Speeding or overdriving road conditions

Improper guards

Tractor-trailers are required to be equipped with rear guards. Typically, the rear guard is two vertical steel bars extending down from the truck’s frame, with a horizontal cross-bar approximately 2 feet from the ground. 

Unfortunately, some trucking companies install rear guards that are not the proper size for the truck, or that do not meet strength and impact regulations. If a guard is placed too high on the back of a trailer, it may be useless in the event of a rear-end collision. 

Some trucks are equipped with side guards, which are beneficial in preventing underride accidents. Unfortunately, in the US, this is not a legal requirement at this time, and many trucking companies do not want to spend the money to have them installed. 

Defective tape and lights

When a truck’s lighting is improperly maintained, it is less visible to others. This is especially true on days when there is rain, fog, snow, or other weather conditions that reduce a driver’s visibility. Dirty or malfunctioning brake lights on an 18-wheeler can make it difficult for the motorist behind them to tell whether the truck is slowing down or stopping. 

Side-lighting on a trailer allows the driver to see how long the semi-truck is at night, or on days where there is poor weather and reduced visibility. A lack of reflective tape or lighting along the side of the truck makes the trailer less visible to drivers of passenger vehicles. 

Underride Truck Accident Injuries

Victims trapped under semis in underride collisions often are left with catastrophic injuries. They may require months of rehabilitation or be left with a life-altering disability. 

The following are some common injuries sustained in underride truck accidents:

  • Skull fractures
  • Internal organ damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Dismemberment
  • Disfigurement
  • Wrongful death

Why Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Truck Underride Accident

After being involved in a truck underride accident, you may be suffering from severe physical injuries and intense emotional trauma. In addition, you may be facing financial hardship as your medical bills accumulate and your injuries prevent you from returning to work. 

The compassionate legal team at Fielding Law understands just how devastating these types of accidents are, and we want to help take some of the burdens off of your shoulders. 

Consider some of the benefits of having a trusted truck accident attorney from our law firm on your side:

  • Investigate your accident: We will investigate the cause of your motor vehicle accident. This may involve speaking to eyewitnesses, visiting the accident scene, obtaining copies of maintenance logs and the truck’s black box, hiring accident reconstructionists, and more. 
  • Determine liability: Our lawyers will use the evidence gathered to determine fault and liability. Liable parties may include the truck driver, the trucking company, or another motorist. 
  • Defend your legal rights: Many trucking companies and their employees have powerful lawyers and large insurance companies backing them. They may try to blame you for the accident. When you hire a truck accident lawyer, you will have someone on your side defending your legal rights. 
  • File a claim or lawsuit: After liability has been determined a truck accident lawyer will then file a claim or lawsuit against all parties responsible for the collision. At times, multiple parties may have played a role in causing the accident. 
  • Negotiate a settlement: Some truck accident claims are settled during the negotiation process with the insurance company. However, if a fair settlement amount cannot be reached, our lawyers are prepared to take your case to court if necessary. 

Recovering Compensation Following an Underride Truck Accident

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a truck underride accident, you should not have to pay the cost of someone else’s negligence. A truck accident lawyer from Fielding Law can help you recover compensation for your losses. 

Depending on the extent of your injuries and other factors, you could recover compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning potential 
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment

If you suffered the fatal loss of a family member in a truck accident, you may be entitled to receive wrongful death damages. At Fielding Law, we understand that no amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one. However, it can help ease your financial stress, while you focus on healing and moving forward during this difficult time. 

Wrongful death damages may include compensation for:

  • Burial costs
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of support
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium and more

Contact an Underride Truck Accident Attorney Today

Have you or someone you love been injured or killed in an underride truck accident? If so, the lawyers at our law firm may be able to help you recover financial compensation for your losses. We can file your claim and negotiate a settlement while you take the time you need to heal. 

At Fielding Law, we take truck accidents and other personal injury cases on contingency. This means that you pay no upfront costs or fees. Our law firm only gets paid if your claim is successful and you are awarded a settlement. 

Schedule a free case review with a member of our legal team today. We can inform you of your legal rights and help you determine how best to move forward.