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Underride wrecks involving big rigs are often deadly

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

When compiling lists of the deadliest types of accidents involving semitrucks, underride accidents definitely rank at or near the top of the list. Few of these crashes wind up having good outcomes for the driver and passengers in the smaller vehicles.

Also, they are more common than most people realize. In 2021 alone, over 400 motorists and passengers lost their lives in underride accidents, as reported by ProPublica and FRONTLINE based on data analyzed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

What happens in an underride wreck?

Underrides occur when smaller vehicles slide beneath the trailers of big rigs from either the rear or the sides between the sets of truck tires. In recent years, rear underrides are much less common due to Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements ensuring that big rigs have rear underride guards designed to prevent the catastrophic injuries and deaths that result from these accidents.

However, there are no such regulations mandating safety bars to be installed on the sides of semitrucks.

What injuries can occur?

Many fatal injuries include decapitations since the point where the passenger car impacts the semitruck is the car’s windshield or hood. Then, the airbags either fail to activate or are insufficient to prevent the loss of life. Fatal head, neck and crushing chest injuries can occur that are also incompatible with life. Some victims do survive, yet suffer from permanent, disabling injuries that might require round-the-clock care in a skilled nursing facility.

Were you or a loved one involved in an underride collision?

The level and years of care needed after a life-altering accident like an underride crash will far exceed the amount most people could ever pay. Learning more about California’s personal injury and liability laws can help you decide what your next move will be.