An underride accident is one of the most catastrophic types of truck crashes. The occupants of a small car that slides underneath a commercial truck can become pinned beneath the crushed metal of the car’s body, often leading to debilitating injuries. In some cases, the consequences are fatal.
If you sustained injuries in an underride truck accident in Florence that was not your fault, contact Jebaily Law Firm immediately to discuss your legal options. You might be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering, and other losses.
At Jebaily Law Firm, we have advocated for injured individuals in Florence and surrounding areas of South Carolina for over 50 years. Our team provides personal attention, treating every client like family. We look forward to meeting you during a free consultation where an underride accident lawyer from our firm can review your case and explain your options for pursuing compensation.
What Is a Truck Underride Accident?
An underride accident occurs when a car slides beneath a semi-truck’s trailer. Because the trailer sits higher off the ground than many other vehicles, a small car can easily get pinned underneath during a collision.
Underride accidents can be subdivided into two types:
- Side underride collisions – A side underride crash occurs when a passenger car collides with the side of a truck’s trailer. This accident can happen when a trucker runs a red light at an intersection or turns left without checking for oncoming traffic, for example.
- Rear underride collisions – A rear underride collision occurs when a passenger car crashes into the back of a truck’s trailer and slides underneath. If a truck driver stops on the highway without functioning brake or hazard lights, a car behind them might not have enough time to brake or move out of the way, leading to a rear underride crash.
What Causes Truck Underride Accidents in Florence?
Underride collisions can happen for various reasons, including when drivers of smaller vehicles tailgate large trucks. However, they also commonly result from truck driver error. Truckers are responsible for operating commercial trucks safely to avoid harming others. When truck drivers are careless, they endanger the lives of other road users.
Some of the most common causes of truck underride accidents include:
- Inadequate or inoperative lighting on the truck
- Truck driver slowing down or braking without warning
- Underride guard failure
- Backing out of a parking lot or driveway onto a busy street without checking for approaching traffic
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Miscalculating the distance and time of oncoming traffic while making a U-turn
- Cutting off other drivers while merging onto a highway or turning onto a road
- Changing lanes in front of another motorist without leaving enough space between the vehicles
- Parking on the side or shoulder of a road without using flashers or other warning devices
Underride Guard Rail Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets rules for interstate motor carriers and truck drivers regarding rear-end protection for trailers and semi-trailers. FMCSA guidelines require trailers and semi-trailers to have rear impact guards that prevent other vehicles from riding underneath. Exceptions to the rule include tractors, pole trailers, and driveaway-towaway vehicles.
The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHSTA) recently issued a rule that updates FMCSA standards to improve protection for vehicle occupants in an underride truck crash. The law requires trailers and semi-trailers to be equipped with rear-impact guards strong enough to protect vehicle occupants in multiple crash scenarios. Additional provisions of the law include researching rear-end guard design and improving data collection of underride crashes.
Injuries That Can Result from Truck Underride Accidents
Severe injuries and fatalities are common in underride collisions. Life-threatening crush injuries can occur when a truck’s trailer crumples a small vehicle around its occupants.
The most common injuries that can result from truck underride accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Deep lacerations
- Fractured ribs and collapsed lungs
- Permanent disfigurement
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of limb
- Spinal cord injuries
- Psychological trauma
What Should I Do if I Have Been Injured in an Underride Truck Accident?
Although you might be in shock immediately after a truck accident, taking prompt action is crucial. You can take steps to protect your legal rights and preserve crucial evidence.
You should go to the hospital immediately after the accident. Due to the severity of underride collisions, you might be transported to the hospital by ambulance. If not, go to the hospital as soon as possible to have your injuries diagnosed and treated. Follow the doctor’s instructions and keep all follow-up appointments. Your medical record could be crucial evidence of the extent of your injuries when you pursue compensation. Failing to see your doctor or treat your injuries could give insurance companies an excuse to deny or undervalue your claim.
Maintaining documents related to your injuries and other expenses is essential. You should keep copies of every doctor’s note, written prescription, medical bill, diagnostic test result, and health insurance letter to be compensated for these costs. If you cannot work while healing from your injuries, keep copies of your pay stubs to prove your lost income.
A truck underride accident lawyer from Jebaily Law Firm can help you with your case. You should contact us after your initial doctor’s appointment or emergency room visit. We can investigate the crash and gather evidence to hold the at-fault party liable for your injuries.
Contact Our Experienced Florence Underride Truck Accident Attorneys Today
An underride collision can be devastating and leave victims with life-changing injuries. If you were hurt in an underride truck accident and someone else is to blame, you could be entitled to significant compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other losses. Working with an experienced attorney can improve your chance of securing a fair settlement or verdict.
You can count on the team at Jebaily Law Firm to fight for your rights and work tirelessly in pursuit of the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us for a free consultation with an experienced Florence underride truck accident attorney today.