What is a Truck Underride Accident?

There are few things more devastating than an accident involving a large truck. However, these incidents are not all the same. There are various ways that large trucks can cause injuries on the roadways, one of which being an underride accident.

Large semi-truck on roadway

What is an Underride Accident?

Underride accidents occur when a passenger vehicle gets crushed under the side or the rear of a semi-truck. Large commercial truck trailers and straight bed trucks are often high enough off the ground for part of a vehicle to fit underneath while taking off the roof or more of a passenger vehicle.

An underride accident is scary for everyone involved, particularly the driver and passengers in the smaller vehicle. This is arguably one of the worst types of large truck accidents and can cause serious injuries and death.

  • Side underride accidents happen when a vehicle slides under the side of a semi-truck trailer. These incidents often happen at night or when there are low sun-angle conditions. These collisions often happen when the driver is crossing or turning onto a street, making a U-turn, or is backing across traffic. In these cases, drivers assume they are seen by other drivers on the road, but that is not always the case.
  • Rear underride accidents happen when the vehicle runs under the rear end of the truck or trailer. These incidents often happen when a poorly marked truck is parked on the side of the road, but can also occur in low visibility conditions.

How do Underride Accidents Happen?

There are various ways these incidents can happen. Some of the main factors include:

  • A passenger vehicle tailgating a large truck
  • Drivers failing to see a truck trailer due to foggy or rainy weather
  • Passenger vehicle drivers operating too fast for conditions
  • Truck driver negligence, including sudden stops

There are instances in which failure of the truck or truck driver negligence causes an underride accident. This can include:

  • Failure to use under-ride guards
  • Failure to maintain the vehicle, including the brakes, taillights, or reflective tape
  • Failure to use proper lighting
  • Failing to meet conspicuity standards when parked on the roadway, including putting safety triangles when broken down

Since 1993, the US Department of Transportation has mandated trucks have conspicuity markings for trailers. They are required to be included on all new trailers, and older trucks must make modifications in order to be in compliance.

What are the Common Underride Accident Injuries?

According to the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 148,000 injuries and 4,761 fatalities due to large truck crashes during the latest reporting year. Underride accidents are often fatal. Survivors of these incidents are often left with serious injuries that lead to lifelong disabilities.

Some of the most common underride accident injuries include:

Each of these injuries requires immediate medical care. In many cases, underride accident victims need extensive follow-up care, rehabilitation, and physical therapy. For those who are disabled and unable to return to work, they may lose the income they need to support their families. If you were severely injured in a truck collision, our truck accident attorneys in Chicago can help. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options.