In the United States, over 500,000 trucking accidents happen each year, and nearly 5,000 result in fatalities. Of these, none are worse than underride accidents. Even with extensive safety equipment and procedures to reduce or prevent underride accidents from occurring, not all equipment is dependable. Rather, equipment is sometimes found to be meaningless or possibly even counterproductive, causing victims to endure debilitating injuries.
The team of Houston underride truck accident lawyers at Sutliff & Stout can help you get justice for the harm you’ve experienced at the hands of negligent trucking companies. We believe that access to qualified legal counsel is a fundamental right, and when you partner with us, we will make sure you are treated with compassion, professionalism, and respect.
What is a Truck Underride Accident?
A truck underride accident occurs when a smaller vehicle collides into the back or side of a semi-truck and gets pushed underneath. Since trucks are much bigger and sit higher off the ground, smaller vehicles can slide underneath the trailer, which usually causes the hood of the car to be completely ripped off by force.
Underride accidents can happen in several different ways, including:
- Rear-end collisions: Rear-end crashes occur more than other types of underride accidents. In a situation where a trucker brakes abruptly, the car behind may not have enough time to react, causing the vehicle to get caught beneath the back of the truck. These mostly occur when trucks slow down to pull over or park on the side of the road.
- Side impact collisions: Side impact crashes occur when a vehicle veers underneath the side of a truck, generally at night. Many drivers assume that truck drivers can see them, and in a situation where a truck driver makes a turn or U-turn, vehicles can easily get crushed under the side of the truck.
- Offset collisions: Offset crashes are the least common and have been recently introduced by crash investigators. These occur when a vehicle hits one of the back corners of a truck instead of hitting it head on, often when a truck merges or switches lanes.
Drivers and front-seat passengers in these vehicles can get trapped below large trucks and sustain catastrophic injuries. If you survive an underride accident with impairing injuries, it is vital that you get the necessary medical attention and treatment you will need to safely recover.
What Causes Underride Accidents in Houston?
The US Department of Transportation enforces commercial trucks to install rear guards and have red and white retro reflective marking patterns on the sides and rear of the truck. These markings make the truck more visible and recognizable to other vehicles on the road.
Unfortunately, these precautions are not enough to prevent underride accidents. Many incidents happen in the following situations:
- Passenger vehicle is following too closely
- Bad weather conditions obstruct visibility
- Passenger vehicle is speeding
- Truck driver stops suddenly
Other truck incidents occur when truck drivers and trucking companies fail to equip their trucks with protective gear, perform truck maintenance, or follow safe driving practices. Some instances of this include:
- No underride guards
- Faulty brakes, taillights, or reflective tape
- Improper lighting
- Not following conspicuity standards when pulled over on roadway
What are Common Underride Accident Injuries?
Due to the high force impact of trucking accidents, underride accidents can be deadly. People who make it out are commonly left with life-altering injuries, including:
- Bone fractures
- Dismemberment or amputation
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries
- Loss or damage to organs
In most cases, these injuries will require long-term medical care with extensive follow-up, rehab, and physical therapy. This could result in your inability to work, accompanied by a large stack of medical bills. Neither you nor your family deserves to endure financial hardship after being involved in a truck underride accident that could have been prevented. A skilled truck accident attorney will help examine your crash and build a strong case that will hold up in court.
Consult a Houston Underride Truck Accident Lawyer Today
At Sutliff & Stout, our truck underride accident attorneys are aware of how traumatizing and serious this type of accident can be. You may be dealing with significant bodily injuries and vehicle damage, as well as trying to cope with the emotional distress, pain, and suffering that came from your devastating truck accident. If you or a loved one is hurt in a truck underride accident, the trucking company may owe you a fair settlement for the accident if the guards were inadequate, ineffective, or not installed.
The attorneys at Sutliff & Stout have achieved positive results for thousands of clients in Houston who are impacted by unsafe trucks on the road. As Board-Certified truck accident lawyers with top ratings on Google, Facebook, and Avvo.com, you can rest assured we won’t back down until you receive maximum compensation. To schedule your free consultation today, call (713) 987-7111 or fill out our contact form.