OC Truck Underride Accident Attorneys
Underride accidents occur when a car or other passenger vehicle slides under the rear or side of a commercial truck. Big rig trailers have a raised design that is at a level to shear off the car’s roof. Occupants of passenger vehicles rarely survive underride truck accidents.
This type of accident may be prevented by equipping all semi-trucks with guardrails that can stop smaller vehicles from going under the trailer. Despite concern from federal agencies, not all big rigs are equipped with guardrails, and truck underride accidents still occur.
Several different factors can contribute to underride accidents, including:
- No underride guards have been installed on the trailer: Underride guards are designed to prevent passenger vehicles from getting trapped and crushed under a trailer. By federal law, large commercial trucks must be equipped with rear underride guards, but some older models are not, and there is no requirement for side guards at all.
- The trucking company failed to install or maintain reflective tape: Most underride accidents occur at night when visibility is reduced. Trucking companies have a duty to ensure their rigs remain highly visible, day or night.
- A truck driver came to a sudden stop: Huge 18-wheelers take longer to slow down or stop than smaller passenger vehicles. When a large truck makes a sudden stop, the car behind it can collide with the rear of the trailer, particularly in wet or icy road conditions.
- The truck driver pulled out into traffic: When a truck driver makes a negligent right-hand turn, cutting off oncoming traffic, an underride accident can occur.
- Hazardous road conditions: Icy roads in winter weather can make it difficult to stop, particularly for a large commercial truck. Slippery roads can also cause a truck to jackknife, creating conditions for an underride crash.
You may be dealing with various insurance companies, as the cab, trailer, and cargo may all be insured separately. In a truck underride accident, potentially liable parties may include:
- Truck driver: If the driver was fatigued, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or otherwise negligent.
- Trucking company: If the company failed to maintain the truck, failed to ensure it was properly inspected, or “incentivized” the driver to violate hours-of-service regulations.
- Truck or parts manufacturer: If defective parts led to equipment malfunction that caused or contributed to the crash.
- Truck repair company: If the company failed to make the necessary repairs, or repairs were not performed correctly.
- The shipper that loaded the cargo: If the shipper loaded the trailer or secured the cargo improperly, and shifting cargo contributed to the underride accident.
- Government entity responsible for maintaining the roads: If hazardous road conditions contributed to the crash.
- Another driver: If another driver’s negligence caused a multi-vehicle collision, creating a truck underride accident.
Underride accidents are complex cases involving federal regulations and multiple potentially responsible parties. Trucking companies have a lot at stake after a serious accident. The company or its insurer will launch a team of investigators, adjusters, and attorneys and go to extremes to deny any wrongdoing on the part of the company or the driver. Insurance companies have their own best interests at heart and may offer a quick, lowball settlement to make your claim go away. You need an experienced OC truck accident lawyer on your side to deal with the insurance companies and protect your right to full and fair compensation.
At Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, we have won hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We offer a free consultation with no time limits and no restrictions. Our firm was founded in 1974, and we have more than 40 years of experience.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a truck underride accident, call Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie at (949) 752-7474 as soon as you can. Our Orange County personal injury lawyers are experienced advocates for truck accident victims.
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