Truck Underride Accident Lawyer

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Car accidents have been described as a worrisome endemic across the US, killing and injuring millions across the country each year. With approximately 245,000 crashes having been reported in Michigan in 2020 alone, hearing news of any type of car accident is certainly not uncommon. But the results can be especially disastrous when a passenger vehicle collides with a large truck.  

Dealing with the aftermath of an underride truck accident can be a nightmare for those who have been injured or lost a loved one in the collision. Of course, of chief concern is the physical and emotional recovery of everyone involved. At the same time, it can be difficult to handle all essential matters when an injury victim must also deal with mounting financial and legal stresses after the accident.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a truck underride accident, it is important that you understand your legal rights. You may be able to recover full compensation for your losses – often much more than the insurance company initially offers. 

The team at Mike Morse Law Firm is here to answer any questions you may have and provide the information you need to make important choices about your legal options. Call us today at 855-MIKE-WINS to schedule your free consultation.

How Truck Underride Accidents Happen

The majority of passenger vehicles are of relatively similar sizes and heights. However, this is not the case with semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, dump trucks, or other types of large commercial transport vehicles. 

In many cases, instead of simply colliding with the other vehicle, the passenger vehicle can slide right underneath the large truck with the difference in size and height. There are two types of underride accidents, depending on where the car made impact.

Rear underride collisions

Perhaps the most common types of underride collisions happen when a vehicle hits the back of a truck, sliding underneath the trailer. 

This can happen for a number of reasons, including:

  • A car is rear-ended: A car that is traveling behind a large truck, even at a safe distance, can be pushed into the back of the truck in the case of a rear-end collision.
  • The truck stops unexpectedly: If the truck stops unexpectedly due to a change in traffic flow, a hazard on the road, or any other issue, the vehicle behind may not have enough time to react and stop before colliding with the back of the truck. 
  • The truck’s brake lights are not functioning: A burnt-out brake light or electrical issue can cause the vehicle behind to not realize the truck is stopping. 
  • The truck is moving slower than expected: If a driver is unable to accurately determine the speed of the truck in front, he or she may catch up sooner than expected and be unable to stop before causing a collision.

Side underride collisions

While it is more common for a car to hit a truck from behind, when a car slides under the side of a truck, it is called a side underride collision.

Side underride collisions can happen when:

  • The truck is making a wide turn: In order to make a turn, trucks need more space than a regular car. That means a truck will often make a turn from further away than another driver might expect. If a person in the next lane doesn’t realize the truck is turning, he or she can drive into the side of the trailer during the turn, slipping underneath. 
  • The truck makes an unsafe left turn: Turning left is always a dangerous part of driving; if the driver misjudges the speed and distance of an approaching vehicle, it can result in an accident. If a truck is turning left and fails to notice an oncoming car, the car can strike the truck in the side, resulting in a side underride collision.
  • The truck makes an unsafe lane change: Due to the size of the vehicle, trucks often have larger blind spots than passenger cars. When a car is in the blind spot, a truck driver may not see it in the mirror and could merge into the next lane unexpectedly. 

After an underride truck accident, you need legal advice you can trust. At Mike Morse Law Firm, our goal is to provide injury victims with the information and resources they need to make smart choices after an accident. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about how you can protect your legal rights.  

Security Measures to Prevent Truck Underride Accidents

In recent decades, the necessity of added security measures to prevent serious injuries in car accidents has become abundantly clear. Since 1998, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made underride guards on the rears of semi-trucks mandatory. However, side guards are not. 

These steel bars are installed to prevent a car from sliding underneath the truck after an impact. While helpful, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has recognized the need for improvement in guard design. In 2011, the IIHS petitioned the NHTSA to implement necessary improvements to regulations on underride guards, but they still await a response.

There is one additional issue regarding underride guards. While they are mandatory, the Department of Transportation does not require them to be inspected. This leads to the question of whether currently installed guards meet safety standards after years of wear and tear.

Why Truck Underride Accidents Are So Dangerous

Each year, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning publishes comprehensive data about accidents throughout the state. The data for 2020 shows that accidents involving trucks or buses continue to have a higher chance of serious injury and death when compared to other accidents where there were no trucks or buses involved. 

One of the reasons that make underride accidents more dangerous than other types of accidents is where the impact hits. Modern vehicles today are equipped with safety features such as airbags and “crumple zones.”

Unfortunately, when a vehicle underrides, the top of the passenger compartment gets crushed by the trailer, instead of the front of the vehicle that is designed to absorb the energy. Due to the impact being concentrated on the occupant compartment, life-threatening head and neck injuries are common. 

Compensation Available After a Truck Underride Accident

When a personal injury victim is unaware of his or her legal rights, it can be tempting to accept a quick settlement that is often much less than deserved. Working with a personal injury lawyer after the accident gives you a better chance of securing maximum compensation for your damages.

Medical expenses

After a serious accident, medical bills can quickly start to pile up. Your financial compensation can include all medical expenses caused by your injuries, including:

  • Consultations
  • Emergency visit fees
  • X-rays or scans
  • Inpatient fees
  • Casts or splints
  • Anesthesia
  • Physical therapy

Compensation can also include costs for attendant care, such as assistance with personal hygiene and other daily tasks.

Pain and suffering

Of course, in many cases, the emotional damages of an accident are just as painful as the physical ones. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your lawyer can fight for your emotional suffering to be recognized by the insurance company, and for you to recover the maximum compensation you deserve. 

Lost wages

In most cases, serious injuries leave victims unable to work for a period of time. Or, there may be disabilities that limit or prevent a victim from working permanently. The good news is that you may be able to recover monthly wage loss benefits as part of your compensation. 

Wrongful death

In the event of a fatal accident, a wrongful death suit can also be filed. This can recover compensation for additional expenses related to the death, such as funeral and burial expenses. In addition, the surviving dependents may be able to receive monthly financial support. 

Our Team at Mike Morse Law Firm Can Help After Your Truck Accident

Suffering a truck underride accident can be a nightmare. With the well-being of yourself and your family foremost on your mind, you need a team on your side who can fight for your legal rights on your behalf. 

At Mike Morse Law Firm, we have been supporting personal injury victims for over 25 years, and we want to do the same for you and your family. With over $1 billion won for satisfied clients, we are confident in offering you personalized, engaged representation – with zero fees charged unless we get you your funds! 

Contact us today at 855-MIKE-WINS to schedule your free case review with our team. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions so you can have peace of mind despite the stressful circumstances. 

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