An underride accident is one of the most dangerous types of truck accidents that a motorist in a passenger car can be involved in, and very often leads to severe injuries and even fatalities. All accidents involving semi-trucks and small passenger cars are dangerous due to the size difference between the vehicles, but underrides are impacted by a few unique factors that make them stand apart.
Essentially, an underride accident happens when a car strikes a semi-truck’s trailer and becomes wedged or stuck underneath. Because of the lower height of most passenger cars, the front portion can fit in the space between the bottom edge of the trailer and the road, especially between the truck’s tires.
Why is this so dangerous?
The first reason that this is so dangerous is that the impact point of the collision is very high. It does not involve the crumple zones or the bumper on the smaller vehicle, two areas that are designed to help keep passengers safe. Instead, the lower edge of the trailer hits the front windshield, the A-pillars, the roof and the passenger compartment on the smaller car.
What this means is that head and neck injuries are much more common when these kinds of crashes occur. So are chest injuries. These are all more likely to be fatal than leg injuries and other issues lower on the body. When you combine this reality with the fact that some of a car’s safety systems aren’t as effective as those outfitted in large commercial trucks, it drastically increases the odds of a fatality.
Furthermore, it can be difficult for emergency crews to get to the driver or passengers in the smaller car. That vehicle can become wedged under the truck, delaying the medical treatment for those involved in the crash. In some cases, if a semi-truck doesn’t stop immediately, the smaller vehicle can even be dragged for a certain distance. Severe injuries and a delay in medical treatment are a very dangerous combination.
What options do people have?
Unfortunately, underride accidents happen frequently, despite some safety innovations designed to prevent them. Those who have suffered severe injuries or lost loved ones due to the negligence of other drivers need to know how to seek financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, funeral costs and much more. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to start.