What is an “underride” truck accident?

An underride accident is an exceedingly dangerous type of crash that can often lead to fatal injuries. It happens when a passenger car ends up below a semi-truck or, most often, the trailer that that truck is pulling. There are complete underride accidents and crashes where the car will strike the axle, meaning that it doesn’t completely go beneath the taller vehicle. But both types can be extremely dangerous for the people in that passenger car.

Most of the time, you can lump these accidents into two different types: Rear underrides and side underrides. It just depends on where the crash occurs. For instance, if a truck turns left in front of a car and that car strikes the space between the wheels on the trailer, it’s a side underride. If a truck has to stop suddenly and the car strikes that truck from behind, it’s a rear underride.

Why are these so dangerous?

The biggest problem with these accidents, and the reason why they often lead to fatal injuries, is that the lower edge of the truck’s trailer can strike the passenger compartment of the car. Forensics experts note that the roof of the car can even be sheared off in many cases.

Passenger vehicles do have a lot of safety systems, such as crumple zones and airbags. These can help in a more traditional collision, where both vehicles are roughly the same size. But an underride accident happens at such a higher level on the passenger car – striking the windshield or the roof – that most of these safety systems do not actually provide many benefits.

Additionally, these accidents often lead to the small vehicle being pinned or trapped beneath the trailer of the truck. This can lead to severe injuries, and it also means that rescue workers on the scene may take far longer to get passengers out of that vehicle. A delay in medical care makes it more likely that the incident will be fatal.

What options do you have?

If you’ve been involved in an underride accident, you may have lost a loved one or suffered significant injuries yourself. It’s very important to know how to seek the compensation that you need from the driver who is responsible and, potentially, from the trucking company itself.