Liability for an underride truck crash could lie with multiple parties, including a trucking company, a trucker, a truck manufacturer, or other entities. The circumstances of every underride truck accident are different, however. We will investigate your collision to determine who is liable.
What Is an Underride Truck Crash?
An underride truck crash occurs when a vehicle becomes lodged under the trailer of a semi-truck. The vehicle may be lodged under the center or rear of the truck trailer.
Semi-truck trailers provide a significant gap between the road and the bottom of the trailer. This gap is significant enough for a vehicle to become wedged. However, the gap is not wide enough for a passenger vehicle to pass under safely. As the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) notes that an underride crash can crush a passenger car, leading to serious or fatal injuries for occupants.
What Causes Underride Truck Crashes?
An underride truck crash can result from a truck driver’s negligence. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), most truck accidents stem from driver error. An underride accident may occur when:
- A truck driver makes an abrupt stop, causing the vehicle behind them to strike the back of their trailer
- A truck driver is distracted, causing them to veer out of their lane
- A truck driver changes lanes without checking for other vehicles
- A truck driver drives while intoxicated or on drugs, increasing the risk of an accident
- A truck driver attempts to pass another vehicle when it is not safe to do so
Liability in these instances may lie with the truck driver. However, trucking companies may also be liable when their drivers’ negligence causes a collision.
Are There Ways to Prevent an Underride Truck Crash?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) publishes data on truck underride guards. These guards are barriers that prevent vehicles from sliding under the truck’s trailer. Though these guards may be effective in certain instances, they are not always.
Trucking companies must generally install underride guards on their fleet of vehicles. Therefore, if the truck did not have proper underride guards, then this may be negligence by the trucking company.
Safe driving is one of the most effective ways to avoid an underride truck accident, however.
Are Truckers and Trucking Companies Liable For Underride Crashes?
Both truckers and their employers may be liable for an underride truck accident. This is partly because employers may be held liable for a driver’s carelessness on the job.
Additionally, certain forms of negligence on the part of trucking companies can cause additional risk of a crash. A trucking company may be clearly liable when:
- It fails to monitor drivers for drug and alcohol use
- It hires drivers with a record of dangerous driving
- It provides unsafe vehicles to its drivers
- It fails to service damaged vehicles
- It does anything else that increases the risk of an underride truck crash
Though a trucking company may be liable for your accident, expect them to fight. For instance, trucking companies likely have a team of lawyers to protect them from liability.
Having your own lawyer could balance the field in your legal case.
How Do Trucking Companies Defend Themselves in Underride Accident Cases?
The trucking company responsible for your crash may use several defenses. They may claim that:
You are Solely Responsible For the Accident
Attorneys for the trucking company may claim that:
- You were driving too closely behind a truck
- You merged into a truck’s lane
- You were distracted at the time of the accident
- You made a dangerous maneuver
They may make other untrue claims about your behavior. Your lawyer will seek as much evidence as possible so that false claims carry minimal or no weight.
The Trailer Could Not Have Been Any More Safe
The trucking company may claim that there was no way to prevent your underride accident. If the truck or trailer lacked basic safety features, though, this may be untrue.
You Should Have Seen and Avoided the Trailer
The trucking company may say that you are partially at fault for your accident. Even if the truck driver caused your accident, the company may argue that you failed to avoid it. Truck trailers are massive, they may say, and you should have at least tried to get out of the way.
A personal injury lawyer will combat any such defense. Your lawyer will make a counter-defense: that they are liable and should cover all of your accident-related losses. Those recoverable losses may include:
- Medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Lost earning power
- Vehicle damage
- Other damages
Our team will investigate your collision, identify liable parties, and seek fair compensation.
Call George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers for a FREE Consultation
A lawyer from our team can lead your underride truck crash case. We’ll handle every step, allowing you to focus on your recovery. George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers has more than 40 years’ experience fighting for clients. We’ll seek the maximum recovery for you.
Call George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers today at (888) 612-7001 for your free consultation.