There are many things that may happen when there is a collision between a passenger vehicle and a commercial truck due to the size difference between the two vehicles. Based on the height difference, a vehicle may be forced under the truck, leading to devastating injuries to the driver and any passengers in the smaller vehicle. This is what happened in a tragic accident that tragically killed two children riding in the backseat. Their mother is now asking Congress to pass laws to prevent such deadly, underride accidents in the future.
According to the Newsobserver.com, a woman was traveling on I-20 with her son in the front passenger seat, and her two daughters riding in the backseat of their car. The woman’s car was suddenly struck from the rear by an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer truck. The force of the tractor-trailer truck spun the woman’s car around and her car slid the rear of her car underneath the trailer portion of the 18-wheeler. Her two daughters sustained severe injuries and the two girls passed away from their injuries a few days after the accident.
An undercarriage or underride accident like the one that happened on I-20 may happen for a number of different reasons, many of which involve negligence on the part of the truck driver or trucking company. Some common causes of an undercarriage accident include:
- The commercial truck lacks the guard on the rear of the truck that is intended to minimize the harm that results from an underride accident – the guard is intended to inhibit the car from traveling too far under the truck;
- The guard at the rear of the commercial truck is not strong enough to stop the car from traveling under the truck;
- The truck does not have sufficient safety reflectors, whether there are not enough or there is dirt or debris that limits the reflective property – these reflectors are intended to provide a visual warning to other drivers that the truck is close; or
- The truck has lights that are out, leading to a lack of warning for approaching drivers that the truck is braking or has stopped.
There have been many new regulations enacted over the past two decades in order to minimize the harm suffered by automobile drivers who impact a large truck. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has adopted numerous regulations that were intended to protect drivers from serious injury, including the requirement for safety guards. However, the regulations that required the installation of the guards on all trucks manufactured after 1998 did not mandate that trucks built before this year had to be retrofit with the protective guards. In addition, some trucks were exempted from the requirement for guards.
Underride accidents often involve devastating injuries or death for the people riding in the car. In fact, when there is a crash that involves a passenger vehicle and a tractor-trailer where there are fatalities, almost half of these accidents involve underride or undercarriage events. The reason these crashes lead to such tragic consequences is that the height difference between the car and the truck allows the car to travel under the truck a significant distance. This results in the passenger compartment being crushed or the top of the vehicle sheared off completely. Many of these underride accidents, approximately 40% of crashes where a vehicle gets wedged under a truck, happen when a car runs into the rear of the truck, as opposed to the side or front.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a serious motor vehicle accident, it is important to retain the right attorneys as early as possible in order to get the money that you need for medical expenses, ongoing treatment and rehabilitation, lost wages, miscellaneous costs, and pain and suffering. The experienced and hardworking truck accident attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are ready to fight for the compensation that you deserve. To receive your preliminary case evaluation, please call 1-800-YOU-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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