Accidents involving an underride carriage collision can be catastrophic for those involved. If you have or a loved one have been involved in a carriage underride accident, Los Angeles truck accident lawyer David Azizi has the experience, compassion and track record to help you find the justice and financial compensation you deserve during this difficult time. If you need immediate assistance, chat now or call our offices at 800-991-5292 to begin a free and thorough review of your unique and important case.
Big rigs and other vehicles that are high off the ground cause significant risks when it comes to underride accidents. According to statistics, most underride accidents involve flatbed trailers, perhaps because they carry a lower profile. Underride guards in the rear are constructed of steel bars that hang from the back of a big rig and are meant to prevent a smaller vehicle from passing underneath in the event of a collision.
These underride guards are tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, however, it was only in the last year that the major manufacturers of underride guards passed crash tests. About 20 percent of the big rigs on the road do not use underride guards made by these companies. In addition, aging of older underride guards may not provide necessary protection to the occupants of smaller vehicles.
What Is a Carriage Underride Accident?
An accident where a vehicle slides directly underneath the rear trailer of a large semi truck or big rig is known as an underride crash — sometimes referred to as an undercarriage accident. The passenger vehicle is literally wedged “under the ride,” in this very dangerous wreck that can cause problematic injuries and many fatalities.
According to a 2011 study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “260 of the 2,241 passenger vehicle occupants killed in large truck crashes died when the fronts of their vehicles struck the rears of trucks.”1 The the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also estimated that more than 5,000 passengers in cars are injured each year through rear collisions with trucks and that about 423 people in passenger vehicles lose their lives in these wrecks.2
What Are the Causes of An Underride Accident?
The main factor that contributes to an underride crash between a passenger car and an 18 wheeler truck is the difference in sizes of the vehicles. Most modern cars have fantastic upgrades in safety features, but should collide with the rear a large truck, specific measures must be in place to make sure your car does not slide under the rear of the tractor trailer.
Adding An Underride Guard To a Semi Truck Saves Lives
The number one deterrent in place for an underride accident is a well designed underride guard attached to the back of a big rig truck. The underride guard is solid structure of steel bars attached directly to the rear of the truck. With this in place, a car that crashes into the rear of a semi truck will be prevented from passing underneath it.
When this is not in place, is not installed correctly and breaks off, or does not meet modern safety standards, passenger vehicles stand little chance of escaping grave injuries when collisions occur.
Side Guards Are Not Required on Big Rigs
Truck drivers and companies, of course, want people to stay safe on the roads. However, adding rear guards to a truck increases its weight, costs money and increases the amount of fuel it takes. Rearguards have been required since 1998 and have shown to be effective in preventing underride accidents.
However, there is no requirement for big rigs to have side guards installed. Bipartisan bills that have been stalled in Congress would require not only side guards but guardrails in front of the big rig as well as ensuring that present rear guards meet updated federal standards. However, a critical issue in mandating side guards for big rigs is that the trailers being pulled are lightweight to cut down on gas consumption, but the trailers themselves may not be strong enough to deflect a passenger vehicle from being in an underride accident despite side guards.
Common Injuries In Truck Underride Accident Cases
Unfortunately, many underride carriage crashes result in a fatality. When this happens, we will investigate to determine how to pursue a wrongful death claim. When passengers survive, some are left to deal with traumatic injuries that may include:
- Spinal Injuries
- Amputation of Limbs
- Head Injuries including skull fractures
- Facial injuries
- Shoulder Injuries
A full list of the most common injuries underride victims face can be found by visiting our common injuries page.
How an Attorney Pursues an Underride Carriage Lawsuit
When you or your loved ones have been injured in an underride accident, David Azizi and the truck crash team get to work on your case immediately. In many cases we will:
- Send investigators to the crash scene to gather evidence
- Make contact with the truck driver or big trucking company
- File a legal complaint and lawsuit on your behalf
- Gather police reports, medical records and evaluate the common need for vehicle replacement
We will work to prove that the trucker should be held liable (responsible) for your injuries, and that the equipment used by the trucker may have been installed incorrectly, was missing completely, or did not go through proper maintenance. What we find most common in these big truck cases is that the truck and/or trucking company committed an act of negligence. With this in mind, we make a demand for them to “right the wrong,” by paying money damages to the injured party.
How a Motorist Can Safeguard Against an Underride Accident
There are ways that a motorist can safeguard themselves and their passengers against many accidents that could end up in an underride. Some of those ways include:
- Don’t speed: Motorists who speed require a longer stopping distance and are at a higher risk of losing control of their vehicle. Losing control or driving too fast means the driver could end up going under a slower moving semi up ahead.
- Avoid distracted driving: Distracted driving is a leading cause of all types of traffic accidents. It includes texting or talking on a phone (including hands-free devices), eating or drinking while driving, talking with passengers and checking GPS.
- Fatigued driving: Overly tired Drivers, whether from shift work or late hours the night before, run a risk of nodding off while driving.
- Reckless driving: Motorists who cut in and out of traffic, tailgate and commit other dangerous acts while driving run the risk of an underride accident.
- Drunk or drugged driving: Motorists who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol present a risk to themselves and others on the road. From drowsiness to lack of judgment, reduced reflexes and affected vision, any one of these deficits could lead to an accident.
- Lack of maintenance: A motor vehicle that has worn, underinflated or over-inflated tires, bad brakes and generally poor maintenance increases the risk of a crash.
Negligence on the Part of the Truck Driver or Company
Truck drivers and the companies that employ them can also be responsible for underride accidents. When an accident proves to be the fault of the driver or company, the injured person or bereaved family can place a claim for compensation. Some ways in which truck drivers or companies are negligent include:
- The company hired a driver who is poorly trained.
- The company did not perform a background check on the driver to look for previous traffic infractions, accidents or incidents involving alcohol or drugs.
- The company did not perform drug and alcohol testing.
- Truck maintenance has not been performed by either the driver or company.
- The driver has been falsifying the logbooks to make better time or was encouraged by the company to make a delivery faster.
Free Case Review: LA Trucking Law Firm for Carriage Underride Accidents
Underride carriage accidents are subject to the same legal reporting deadlines as other cases, and in most circumstances, the statute of limitations for truck accident injuries is between 6 months (when a government entity is involved) and two years. We urge all injured victims to contact a California lawyer before the clock expires for their case.
The Law Offices of David Azizi works on a contingency fee basis. Simply put, we will front the costs of your case and believe in our 98 percent success rate so much that if we do not win your case, then we do not collect payment for ourselves and you owe us nothing. Our goal is to get you the justice and financial compensation you deserve in the quickest time possible.
The next important step involves hearing the details of your unique case. David and team will listen, ask questions, and build a strategy to make you whole again in the eyes of the law. We are compassionate with each client, while simultaneously not letting big trucking companies push our clients around or short-change them will unreasonable settlement offers.
Call our offices 24/7 at at 800-991-5292 and let’s begin your case and the road to recovery for you and your loved ones.