Truck Underride Accident Lawyers in Naperville, Illinois
The truck accident lawyers at The Collins Law firm represent victims of all kinds of truck crashes, from underride accidents, to jackknife accidents, to rollover accidents. We have the experience and resources to handle these complex cases and get justice for our clients.What is an Underride Crash?
Some of the most fatal and debilitating truck accidents are underride crashes. These accidents happen when a passenger vehicle crashes into the back or side of a tractor-trailer and the impact forces the car underneath the truck. Unfortunately, the underside of most trailers has enough room for the body of the car but not the top. In an underride accident, the roof and top section of the car get sheared off as the car travels underneath the truck. Because of the difference in height between a car and a tractor-trailer, the first point of impact occurs between the truck and the windshield, roof, and passenger area of the car. This is called Passenger Compartment Intrusion (PCI) and can result in death, decapitation, or debilitating injuries for passengers who survive.
From 2008 through 2017, an average of 219 people a year were killed in underride crashes involving large trucks, according to the General Accounting Office, and that number is likely underreported. Many of these fatal accidents are side underride crashes. The sad fact is that technology is available to prevent side underride crashes and save lives. The government just don’t require that trucks install it. Currently, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) only requires tractor-trailers to have rear underride guards, not side guards. After deciding that side guards would reduce injuries and deaths, the NTSB issued a non-binding resolution that all new trailers be equipped with side protection systems. Not surprisingly, the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association opposed requiring side guards> So in the absence of any legislation mandating side guards, trucks continue to drive without this life-saving safety technology.What Causes Underride Accidents?
Lack of underride guards, or subpar underride guards, are the most notable cause of underride crashes. These guards, when designed properly, can prevent a passenger car from going underneath a semi-truck on impact and can save the lives of the driver and passengers. Unfortunately, many of the trucks on the road do not have these guards or have guards that will break on impact, rendering them pointless.
Poor visibility. Accidents between passenger vehicles and semi-trucks are much more common at night. Trucks without reflective tape, or with poorly maintained reflective tape, or failed brake lights all contribute to this statistic. Trucking companies are supposed to make sure their trucks are as visible as possible on the road; when they do not uphold this responsibility, fatal crashes happen.
Truck driver negligence is another major cause of underride crashes. If a truck driver turns out into the middle of traffic negligently or slams on their brakes unexpectedly, the likelihood of a vehicle crashing into the side or back of the truck is extremely high. This negligence, combined with a lack of reflective tape or underride guards, creates a recipe for disaster.
Hazardous weather and/or road conditions are another cause of underride crashes. Bad weather, construction, and hazards on the road can all contribute to underride crashes. Slippery conditions can cause a truck to jackknife which can in turn cause an underride accident. Poor visibility, heavy fog, and slick roads can cause a car to slam into a truck from the rear resulting in an underride accident.What Injuries are Common in Underride Crashes?
Underride crashes are usually fatal, but this isn’t always the case. People do survive these crashes and when they do, they are typically left with serious, life-altering injuries. Traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken bones, damaged or irreparable organs, burns, cuts, bruising, and abrasions are all extremely common in the aftermath of these accidents.Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer for Help
If a loved one has been seriously injured or died as a result of an underride crash, you will need an experienced truck accident attorney on your side. These cases can be extremely complicated and may involve multiple liable parties. For example, the truck driver may have made a negligent turn, but the trucking company may also have failed to follow federal regulations or ensure the truck had proper visibility. An experienced truck accident lawyer will know how to investigate your accident properly and access the various insurance policies available to you.
Here at The Collins Law Firm, we know how devastating these accidents can be and we are committed to fighting for you so that you can focus on rest and recovery. Our firm has the experience necessary to prove liability and the financial resources to hire the experts you need to get the maximum compensation possible. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of a serious truck crash, call us today at (630) 527-1595 or fill out our contact form for a FREE evaluation of your truck accident case.