Underride Trucking Accidents

Underride trucking accidents, where passenger vehicles slide underneath the rear or side of a large truck or trailer, represent some of the most horrific traffic collisions on our roads. Despite advancements in vehicle safety features and regulations designed to mitigate their frequency and severity, underride accidents continue to cause devastating losses each year.

Underride accidents are so severe because the safety features of passenger vehicles, such as airbags and crumple zones, are often bypassed due to the higher base of the truck's trailer. This can lead to severe injuries or fatalities, primarily caused by the shearing off of the top portion of the passenger vehicle. The occupants of the smaller vehicle face a significantly higher risk of catastrophic head and neck injuries.

These accidents are particularly deadly because of the mismatch in height between passenger vehicles and commercial trailers, the lack of adequate underride guards, or the failure of existing guards under the force of a crash. 

If you or a loved one has been affected by an underride trucking accident, you don't have to face the aftermath alone. At Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, we understand how these tragedies impact victims and their families. Our dedicated team of experienced California trucking accident attorneys is here to guide you through every step of the legal process, fighting tirelessly to ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.

Rear Underride Trucking Accidents

More than 350 people are killed every year when their car strikes the back of a big semi-truck and slides underneath the rear impact guard. These types of horrific accidents are known as rear underride trucking accidents, and they are extremely deadly. While rear impact guards are meant to protect motor vehicles from sliding underneath the back of a commercial truck, they often do not work.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety put rear impact guards to the test and found that at just 35 mph, the rear guard that met U.S. standards gave way, allowing the car to slide right under the trailer. This sheers off the top of the vehicle, effectively crushing it. In the Institute's testing, if there were occupants inside of the car, they would not have survived.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 312 people died in underride accidents in 2008. Most of these accidents involved light passenger vehicles, with 40 percent of underride accidents occurring at the rear corners, where impact guards are weakest. 

Side Underride Trucking Accidents

Another type of underride accident occurs when a truck turns wide and straddles the road. While the sides of trucks have reflector strips, they often aren’t illuminated until a driver's headlights shine on them. So, by the time a driver sees the truck, it’s often too late to stop. The car slides underneath the tractor-trailer, crushing the windshield and driver's compartment.

While these underride truck collisions are most common at night, they can also occur on roads with poor visibility, in inclement weather, or during the day—especially when the sun is at a low angle.

Causes of Underride Trucking Accidents

There are many causes of underride trucking accidents, including:

  • No rear impact guard on the truck
  • Impact guard not meeting U.S. standards
  • No reflective tape or reflectors on the back of commercial trucks
  • Dirt or mud-covered reflective devices
  • Broken taillights or reflective devices
  • Truck driver inattention
  • Inexperienced truck drivers

Underride trucking accident victims and their families have the right to pursue just compensation for the impacts of these horrific accidents. The trucking accident attorneys at Cerri, Boskovich & Allard will stand up to the big trucking companies and their insurance companies by aggressively fighting for your rights.

Impact of San Jose Underride Trucking Accidents

Underride accidents are among the most catastrophic collisions on the road, often resulting in severe injuries or fatalities due to the nature of these crashes. The impact on victims and their families extends far beyond the immediate aftermath, affecting every aspect of their lives.

Injuries and Fatalities

The injuries sustained in underride accidents are typically severe due to the significant intrusion into the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Common injuries include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Due to the force of impact, occupants are at a high risk of suffering from TBIs, which can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: The sheer force exerted on the vehicle can cause spinal injuries, potentially resulting in paralysis.
  • Amputations and Crush Injuries: The compression of the vehicle often leads to catastrophic injuries such as amputations or crush injuries, which may require long-term medical care.

Unfortunately, underride accidents have a high fatality rate. The structural compromise of the vehicle often leads to fatal head and neck injuries, even at relatively low speeds. 

Emotional and Financial Toll

The emotional and financial aftermath of an underride accident can be overwhelming for victims and their families. Survivors may experience PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues stemming from the trauma of the accident. The loss of a loved one can exacerbate these feelings, leading to prolonged grief and emotional suffering.

Medical bills can quickly become overwhelming, especially for long-term care needs such as rehabilitation, therapy, and home modifications. The loss of income, either from the victim’s inability to return to work or the loss of a family breadwinner, adds to the financial strain.

Sadly, many survivors face significant lifestyle changes due to their injuries, requiring adaptations to their homes, changes in employment, and loss of independence. These changes can further contribute to the emotional distress experienced by victims and their families. 

Who Is To Blame After an Underride Trucking Accident?

An underride trucking crash might seem like just an accident. However, many of these horrific accidents could have and should have been prevented. There may be multiple parties to blame after an underride trucking accident, including:

  • The truck driver
  • Trucking companies
  • Truck part manufacturers
  • Government entities
  • Other motorists

Trucking companies can be held responsible under the legal doctrine of "respondeat superior," which holds employers liable for the actions of their employees performed within the scope of their employment. Additionally, it could be deemed liable if the company failed to enforce safety protocols, properly maintain vehicles, or ensure its drivers were adequately trained.

At Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, we can investigate all angles of your accident to identify all liable parties and help you recover the compensation you need. 

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

If you or someone you love has been killed or injured in a commercial trucking accident, contact the trucking accident lawyers at Cerri, Boskovich & Allard at (408) 289-1417.

The trucking accident lawyers at Cerri, Boskovich & Allard have successfully handled truck accident cases throughout Northern California, including accidents on Highways 1, 5, 17, 33, 101, 152, 580, and 680.


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