Any time that you get in an accident involving a semi-truck, you know that you’re facing a severe disadvantage when it comes to the odds of injury. In your passenger car, you are certainly more likely to be injured than someone in the semi. The greater the size difference between two vehicles, the greater the odds of injury for those in the smaller vehicle – and semi-trucks can create massive size differences.
Now, this severe chance of injury may exist in any accident with a truck, but it’s especially true in an underride accident. This is when the smaller vehicle slides under the body of the truck. The truck driver themselves is likely to be fine, unless the accident causes the truck to go out of control. But those in the passenger car can be seriously injured or killed because that bottom edge of the trailer is going to strike directly into the front window and the passenger compartment.
Where does it happen?
These accidents tend to happen directly behind the semi or on either side of the trailer, between the sets of wheels. These are the areas where the trailer is high enough for a small vehicle to fit underneath and where there is clearance between the wheels so that this is possible. A car that does enter one of these gaps may become wedged under the truck and even dragged during the crash.
As a result, many new trucks have guards on the back that extend down below the bumper. They may also have guards on the sides that come down a foot or so lower than the trailer itself. This doesn’t prevent an accident from happening, but it can prevent a car from becoming wedged under the trailer, which lowers the odds of serious injuries.
However, as noted above, any accident with a semi is very dangerous. The truck could have defective underride guards, for one thing. Even if the guards are in place and working properly, it’s still a high-speed collision between two vehicles with very different weight and height statistics. This often leads to severe head, neck and spine injuries, along with fatalities.
What options do you have?
If you’ve lost a loved one or been injured, you need to know how to seek financial compensation. Depending on the situation, you may need to seek this compensation from the driver, the trucking company or both.