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Underride Accidents Can Be Devastating

Grieving families trust our Cleveland truck accident lawyers to deliver

When a smaller vehicle collides with the side or rear of an 18-wheeler in an underride crash the results can be catastrophic, and our Cleveland truck accident lawyers understand how tough it can be for families to cope with the loss of a loved one killed in this type of crash.

While underride accidents may not be the most common, statistics show hundreds of people are killed every year when they crash into the rear or side of an 18-wheeler. Due to the way police group different types of truck accidents together in the same category, the number of fatalities from this type of crash may even be higher. Most passenger vehicles are now equipped with advanced technology to improve safety in the event of a collision, but those safety features ─ no matter how advanced ─ are often useless when a smaller car is crushed underneath a much larger tractor-trailer.

If your family has suffered a tragedy due to an underride crash, our Cleveland truck accident lawyers want to help. Obtaining justice can be a critical step in gaining closure after losing a loved one, and our truck accident lawyers have the dedication and commitment to see your family through these tough times. Through a wrongful death claim, our lawyers can hold the responsible parties accountable and bring your family justice. Let Merriman Legal, LLC advocate for your family. Contact us today for your free and confidential consultation.

What is an underride accident?

An underride truck crash occurs when a car slides underneath the side or rear of a tractor-trailer due to the car being much shorter than the 18-wheeler. When this happens, the semi-truck’s trailer can crush the car’s passenger compartment and breach the inside of the vehicle, resulting in a horrific crash. Underride accidents are frequently fatal, even at low speeds.

The U.S. Department of Transportation mandates all tractor-trailers have rear underride guards to prevent underride crashes during rear-end collisions between passenger vehicles and semi-trucks. But the guards don’t always serve as a proper barrier between a car and trailer for a variety of different reasons, including faulty design and defective parts. While there are no federal regulations mandating side underride guards, lawmakers have shown support for making side and front guards a requirement on tractor-trailers as well.

Causes of underride truck accidents

In the early 1990s, lawmakers made it a requirement for long strips of reflective tape to be put on the side and rear of tractor-trailers so they’d be more visible at night to other vehicles. While that measure was intended to help prevent other drivers from sliding underneath tractor-trailers on their own, it didn’t address one of the most common reasons for this kind of collision: trucker negligence.

Some of the more common ways underride crashes happen include:

  • Incorrect turns: A truck driver attempting to make a turn, pulling out onto a road, or merging into another lane of traffic can have a side underride collision with another vehicle if the truck driver makes the turn too wide, cuts the corner, pulls out in front of oncoming vehicles, doesn’t properly signal, or fails to yield to oncoming traffic.
  • Braking too quickly: Tractor-trailers can weigh thousands of pounds and haul trailers more than three times as long as most cars. That’s why 18-wheelers need more time to come to a complete stop compared to smaller passenger vehicles. If a trucker isn’t paying attention or doesn’t have the qualifications and experience to know how to properly apply the truck’s brakes, the truck’s wheels can lock up and cause the 18-wheeler to come to an abrupt stop. When this happens, smaller vehicles traveling behind the semi-truck can crash underneath the trailer.
  • Inadequate maintenance: If an 18-wheeler’s taillights are malfunctioning or its trailer doesn’t have working lights or reflective tape, it can be difficult for other drivers to see the tractor-trailer at night. Failure to maintain the truck’s brakes and transmission can also result in mechanical problems that may cause an underride crash.
  • Reckless driving: Whether the truck driver is speeding, talking on a phone, texting, driving under the influence, ignoring traffic signals, or drowsy driving, these are all factors that could contribute to a fatal underride crash.

Make things right with the help of a truck accident lawyer

If you’ve lost a loved one or you’ve suffered injuries in an underride crash, the truck accident lawyers from our Cleveland law firm can help you demand justice. Through a wrongful death claim, our attorneys can hold negligent truck drivers and trucking companies accountable by obtaining compensation through a settlement or verdict. Make my team your team. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.