According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), underride crashes occurred 189 times with a large truck in 2015. In the same year, Texas reported 29 underride accidents. Since these accidents involve a smaller passenger vehicle slipping underneath a larger commercial truck, they can easily cause extensive damages. Taking the appropriate steps after an underride accident can help victims recover deserved compensation for injury or wrongful death.
Understanding an Underride Accident
An underride accident can occur when a truck stops quickly which doesn’t allow adequate time for following vehicles to stop. Because of this, the following vehicle may wedge underneath the truck’s trailer.
Side underrides are similar, but occur when a vehicle strikes a truck perpendicularly, becoming lodged beneath the side of the truck. Often the force of a side underride shears off the top of the vehicle. Side underride accidents account for 200 deaths every year, according to NBC news. Both types result in serious injuries for the vehicle’s occupants. If you were injured in a Houston truck accident, contact one of our experienced truck collision lawyers today.
Both truck and passenger vehicle drivers can prevent underride accidents by following safe driving practices. Rear-end truck guards also help keep vehicles that strike the back of a commercial truck from slipping underneath. While these accidents can still be devastating, the likelihood of severe injuries and death decreases if an underride is prevented.
Guards along the sides of trucks can likewise prevent accidents. Unfortunately, there is no requirement for trucking companies to have these guards on their vehicles. As a car caught in a side underride accident may be run over if the truck is still in motion after the collision, the damages can be incredibly extensive.
Handling an Underride Accident
If you are part of a truck underride accident, the incredible stress of the situation can make it difficult to think clearly. If possible, follow these steps following an underride accident.
- Survey the situation. Underrides can result in serious injuries and dangerous situations. If the situation appears dangerous either from leaking fluids or potential collapse, avoid the area and wait for the police and medical personnel to arrive.
- Get medical care. Underride accidents can easily lead to devastating injuries, and your priority should be to seek medical help. If you are well enough that you don’t require immediate medical assistance, you should still get checked out in case your injuries aren’t immediately apparent.
- Collect the truck driver’s information. You will want to have the truck driver’s contact information, as well as the details of the truck company. When you talk with other drivers don’t admit fault for the accident, even if you think you may be partly at fault.
- Gather evidence. Commercial truck accidents can be complicated because the trucking company will recover their vehicles after an incident, making it difficult to gather evidence. If you are well enough to do so, you should take pictures or video of the scene, including the truck, your car, and any injuries you’ve suffered. If you cannot gather this information, the police will conduct their own investigation, and the police report can serve as evidence for your claim.
- Be cautious when talking to insurance claims adjusters. While you’re still recovering from the shock of an underride accident, you may receive a call from the trucking company’s insurance adjuster. Unfortunately, insurance companies will often try to make you give a statement to admit fault or offer to settle the claim for less than you deserve. Never give a statement to an insurance company without discussing the matter with an attorney first.
- Contact an attorney. Underride accidents are incredibly stressful events that can cause long-lasting physical and emotional damages. They are also complex legal matters. A Houston personal injury attorney can help you protect your rights, allowing you to focus on recovery.
Whether you’ve suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a truck underride accident, following the appropriate steps in the aftermath can help your chances of recovering compensation.