It is no secret that accidents involving large tractor-trailers can be some of the most dangerous types to occur. This is mainly due to the large size and weight of these vehicles. While the types of accidents that occur may be similar in nature to other car accidents, when a truck is involved, the damage is much greater because of the characteristics of semi-trucks. There are, however, a few accidents that are exclusive to truck collision. Due to the height of trucks, there is a larger space between the bottom of the trailer's undercarriage and the ground. Consequently, rear-end accidents, which are usually the most minor accidents, can and often are fatal when a truck is involved.
These special rear-end truck accidents are notoriously dangerous and their reputation has earned them a special name. They are known as underride accidents because in an accident between a truck and a car, the car slides underneath the trailer of the truck, being crushed beneath its weight. There are two types of underride accidents, depending on whether the car is caught underneath the truck from the side or from the rear.
To demonstrate the danger of underride accidents, almost half of all fatalities involving an accident between a car and a tractor-trailer are due to an underride accident. The very real danger has drawn attention from authorities and media. As a result, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated that all tractor-trailer vehicles include an underride guard designed to keep vehicles from sliding underneath the trailer on impact. These guards act as an extended bumper so that when a car rear-ends a truck, it will sustain damage similar to that of a car-on-car accident.
Because of the requirement placed by NHTSA for the inclusion of these rails, underride accidents are an added liability to truck drivers and their employers. While rear-end accidents are generally thought to be the fault of the car that runs into the rear of the other vehicle, underride accidents are separated from this because, considering regulations, they should not happen. While cars may rear-end trucks as a result of the driver's own negligence, the added damage caused by the absence of a guard or a defect in the underride guard is the responsibility of the truck operator.
Underride accidents are always a confusing matter when it comes to pinpointing negligence and fault. While the truck drivers are responsible to protect other drivers from sliding under their vehicle, an underride accident does require a driver in a car to actually rear-end the truck. The mixture of liability makes these accidents complicated, especially when the victim or the families are facing costs of the extreme damages caused by underride accidents. In times like this, it is necessary for a legal professional to step in and manage the process so that the victims are repaid the fair amount they deserve.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a truck underride accident, do not give up hope. Given federal requirements, underride accidents should not occur as often as they do and when they do, there is a reason. Contact one of our Santa Clarita personal injury lawyers and discuss your situation. We can help you determine the best course of action for recovering the compensation you are entitled to and we intend to stand by your side until your claim is successful. Call The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus today to learn more.