Underride Truck Accidents: What Are They and Who May Be at Fault?

All truck accidents are scary experiences. However, underride truck accidents are particularly terrifying because a smaller car slides underneath a much larger commercial truck that sits higher off the ground. If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in one of these devastating events, our team at Mingo & Yankala wants to help. Here is what you should know about underride accidents and how they happen.

What Is an Underride Truck Accident? 

Underride truck accidents occur when a passenger vehicle slides or crashes underneath a tractor-trailer. This type of accident usually occurs when the passenger vehicle hits the side or back of the truck. These accidents sometimes result in shearing the top off of a vehicle.

Why Are Underride Accidents So Dangerous?

Commercial trucks sit higher off the ground than passenger vehicles. The top of a car may only reach the height of the truck’s wheels.  Underride truck accidents are dangerous because the smaller vehicle slides under the larger truck. The roof of the passenger vehicle can be sheared off, or the accident can break windshields, doors, and the vehicle’s frame. These accidents can often result in fatal or catastrophic injuries. 

Common Causes of Underride Truck Accidents 

The U.S. Department of Transportation requires guards and markings on most commercial trucks. Commercial trailers must have rear guards. Additionally, the back and sides of trucks must have retroreflective tape so that other motorists can see them at night. Despite these rules, underride truck accidents continue to occur. 

Some of the most common causes of underride truck accidents include:

  • No guardrails – Even though rear guardrails are mandatory, side guardrails are not. Despite experts recommending them, many tractor-trailers do not have side rails installed. Additionally, guardrails that are installed may be worn out. They might fail in the event of an accident. 
  • Improper guards – Some trucks may have improper guards installed on them, which may not be the right size or the right strength. Others may have the rails installed too high, which can make them ineffective in case of an underride truck accident. 
  • Missing or defective tape or lights – Many underride truck accidents occur at nighttime when other motorists cannot see trucks. The commercial truck may not have working reflective tape or taillights. Even if they are working, commercial drivers should ensure tape is not obscured, peeling, or worn as part of their pre-trip inspection. 
  • Truck driver error – Many underride truck accidents occur because of truck driver error. Truck drivers may make too wide of turns, fail to check blind spots, fail to signal, suddenly brake, or make other careless mistakes that cause underride truck accidents. Additionally, many underride truck accidents occur when commercial trucks are parked on the side of the road and truckers fail to use road flares or reflective triangles to alert other motorists of their presence. 

An experienced truck accident lawyer can thoroughly investigate the accident and determine the factors that contributed to it. Depending on the circumstances, the truck driver, trucking company, and truck manufacturer may be responsible for the damages. 

If you or a loved one was injured in an underride truck accident, you deserve justice and accountability. The team at Mingo & Yankala, S.C. want to help you demand maximum compensation. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.